Friday, December 12, 2008

It's a Little Easier Being Green

In the excitement of the giving season...rather, in the excitement of getting them in the mail, my sister gave me my Christmas present early, which was this awesome bamboo utensil kit from To-Go Ware I was jazzed (pictured is the design I got). Even though she kind of hinted that I'll be getting it, I was stoked to actually have it in my possession for me to use!

It's a one-stop container for one's utensil needs: a knife, fork, spoon and even swirly-ended chopsticks made of bamboo all in a container made of repurposed plastic shopping bags. The case is made by employing ragpickers in India to find discarded bags and create these cases, which gives them a job to do, and the utensils are made of bamboo, which is a very durable, sturdy and sustainable product; bamboo is a grass that grows quickly and is sustainably grown for this purpose.

After having it for two weeks now, I've had several opportunities to use my utensils that come with me wherever I go, and it's great. The spoon is a good size and its bowl is deep enough to get a nice bit of soup to sip. The fork's three wide set prongs work pretty well, but since the prongs widen quickly, it's sometimes hard to get a good grasp on some things like a piece of sliced carrot. The chopsticks have a cool spiral design on its top, and I really wouldn't know how a pair of chopsticks could be dysfunctional, and I have yet to try the knife. It isn't serrated, but it's not sharp per se, but it should be good enough a blade to cut through most things - I don't think it could get through a steak, but if you're eating a steak, I wouldn't think you'd be eating it at a to-go setting.

Even though I usually keep my plastic utensils once I've used them, using these utensils in lieu of their plastic cohorts will reduce the demand for them, and even though they'll still keep some in stock, using these reuseable option will reduce their need to restock the supplies, and one has more incentive to take home one's used utensil if there's a washable carrying case for one to take home and wash to use again another day.

I was at a meeting this week that provided lunch, and I got a big thumbs up when I busted out my bamboo fork for my pasta salad, and as all the other plastic forks were being tossed away after their one use, I wiped mine down, wrapped it in a bit of my old napkin to take home and wash for another day. Of course, the fork that came with my lunch came home with me to go with the other accumulated plastic forks, along with the Styrofoam containers my pasta salad and hot coffee came in so I can wash them and put them in my (now full) container full of old toilet paper/paper towel rolls, sauce cups, microwave dinner trays, foil, magazines, tissue paper, etc. so I can take them all to the Armory Center for the Arts so kids in their art classes can use them for their art projects.

It may take a little more work and effort to actually take these steps to make sure that waste isn't quite real waste until all its uses have been exhausted, and sure, sometimes I get funny looks or comments when people see me carrying around something I could just toss but keep knowing I can find another purpose for it. In the end, all these little steps may make a big difference, and thanks to this little kit, I'm better able to do my part in reducing my footprint on the earth.



  1. yay! I am putting that on my wishlist : )
    I always bring back the to-go coffee holders back to the coffee bean. Sometimes they look at me funny when I put back 10 or so of 'em, and sometimes they give me a free coffee.

  2. I should knit you a holder! I can make it in the design of those coffee cups they use in NYC (or at least pattern it with a Greek key):

    I think it's super awesome when they give you a free coffee! That's the kind of positive reinforcement I like!