A plastic fork in the road (Day 29)…


Since I’ve already abolished styrofoam here on Planet Thistle, I might as well get rid of its evil twin — plastic cutlery — while I’m at it. The more I pay attention to the litter along the side of the road, the more I notice that there’s almost always plastic forks, knives, spoons and plates amongst it.

Unfortunately, while there are multiple alternatives to styrofoam, such as biodegradable corn-based containers like the NaturoPack, there haven’t been many innovations on the disposable cutlery front (except maybe this one from Hong Kong or this weird orange-peel-and-carbon-dioxide one).

Personally, I don’t get take-out that often. But I understand that most people want their regular Friday night pizza-and-a-movie, or in the case of my parents for the past 10 years, Saturday night Thai food. And then there are those days when you’re sick and all you want is a hot miso soup from the sushi place next-door and you sure as heck aren’t going to make it yourself or sit in the restaurant sipping it alone.

So here’s my solution: Carry chopsticks at all times. Yes, it sounds silly, but they don’t take up much room in a purse (or murse), they’re not as sharp as a knife and fork, and when it comes to the spoon — well, pretty much anything you can ladle with a spoon you can sip directly from the bowl. In fact, you can even get little portable chopsticks like these, so if you’re out at some posh soirée and all you’re carrying is a dainty sequined clutch, you could still cram ’em in there for when you stop by Harvey’s at 3 a.m. with Bellini breath and a mad poutine craving. You know you will.

Sure, greasy fries slathered in gravy and cheese curds may not be the easiest food to consume with chopsticks, but with practice it’s totally doable. And I figure, if I’m really struggling, I’ll just use my hands — besides, what else are opposable thumbs good for?

Photo courtesy of drp on Flickr


26 Responses to A plastic fork in the road (Day 29)…

  1. Nickelking says:

    Now that’s a great idea! If only I could figure out how to use the suckers.

  2. Morgan says:

    Very groovy idea…I love chop sticks but I never thought about carrying them around with me. Thanks for the tip…


  3. J.R. says:

    Word. I schlep around a courier-type bag anyway, usually with most of the following:
    chopsticks, reusable plastic container for takeout, coffee mug, and sometimes even a second container for that morning muffin. A touch cumbersome, sure, but with flat containers a book will fit inside and it’s easy to wash it out when it’s done — maximize space, refuse to accept disposables, what have you.

    OK, maybe not everyone will commit to that so easily, but mugs should be mandatory for caffiends et al.

  4. Lynn says:

    When I’m ordering take-out, I give them back the plastic spoon and fork and just use my regular silverware. But since I have a nice pair of chopsticks anyway, I think I’ll give them a go next time.

  5. Lori V. says:

    This is one way for me to lose 5 pounds, since I can’t seem to pick up more than 2 grains of rice at a time with these puppies. I can, however, start keeping silverware in the car!

  6. Good call. And to the point about the litter along the sidewalks. On my daily walks I too observe the mass quanityt of fast food ‘dishes’ cluttering the sidewalks and gutters (particularly now that the snow has melted). And I also notice that it is always fast food. You never see an empty jar of almond butter lying on the side of the road or plastic bags from rice cakes- seems to me the peopel who eat fast food have an equal disregard for both their bodies as for their environment.. perhaps something i should write about.

  7. Morgan says:

    Hey guys…

    Discovery channels Daily Planet is all about Global Warming this week. One of the stories they were featuring was the Bare Naked ladies and their carbon neutral tour (as Vanessa has already mentioned).

    In that story, one of the ladies was talking about the dishes and utensils…they use both washable dishes and utensils, as well as 100% biodegradable dishes and utensils…like the Bi Bag, I believe the utensils were made from corn.

    Here are some of the Biodegradable products that they mentioned, not sure if they are exactly this brand or not.

    I’m going to be sending some of this information to the local cafe’s and diners in the area. Our lunch time crowd tends to go through a ton of plastic here!


  8. Ms Cin says:

    OMG! I thought I was the only one who had a pair at the bottom of their bag! The great thing is that there are so many places here in Vancouver that carry great looking washable chopsticks, and many come in their own little fabric carrier.

  9. stephen says:

    not to shill for amazon, but this is an alternative to carrying chopstix:

  10. gettinggreen says:

    Haha, I love it — I’m going to get everyone carrying chopsticks now! I think the only deterrant is the embarrassment you might feel pulling them out and trying to eat something like fish and chips or pasta salad. But I’m over it 🙂

    Thanks for the URLs with nifty bio cutlery options, guys!

  11. Christian says:

    Great post and and great website,

    Just a little scope on chopstick production, in this case study (http://www.american.edu/TED/canchop.htm) it claims ” Mitsubishi and Daishowa’s world disposable chopstick production stands at approximately 20 billion pair per year”.. and that was in 1997. Pretty crazy hey?


  12. Shawn says:

    I love chopsticks, don’t get me wrong. But what about the titanium spork?!

    It’s an awesome portable utensil, plus you earn geek cred for it being titanium. Plus should you ever resort to using it in self defense you’re sure to make the news.

  13. gettinggreen says:

    MEC actually sells a spork AND a foon in their store (and on their website). I couldn’t really tell the difference. They look cool, but also semi-lethal.

  14. steph says:

    just so you know, if you check out reusablebags.com, they have a bamboo cutlery set that comes in its own fabric pouch with a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks. Its super cute and easier than trying to learn chopsticks (although personally, chopsticks arent that difficult). good luck!

  15. Having had an interest in Titanium for many years, I find your post an interesting read, Whilst I am not totally in agreement with some of your points, I must say it is well written.

  16. As carissa and steph have said, reusablebags.com has a great bamboo set of cutlery, complete with chopsticks. We ordered two, and we even use them as our primary cutlery around the house.

    We opted for the bamboo instead of the perhaps more convenient metal contraptions because we do have to travel a lot (especially to the US from Canada so lots of border crossings) and we figured this was safer and more convenient all the way ’round.

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  18. […] I crave something raw dipped in low sodium soy.  I know I could go ahead and purchase these that Thistle suggests, but I must have 25 pairs sitting idly in the drawer next to the kitchen sink as it is. […]

  19. Amie Chi says:

    Dear Sir/Madam,

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    625/3 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Str., Ward. 26, Binh Thanh Dist.,
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    Tel: 84-08.5117827-5117992
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  20. […] up using plastic forks fairly often during the day, you can buy some to-go ware or you can simply stick some chopsticks in your purse. The Ethical Consumer likes this solution the best because it doesn’t involve buying new […]

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