Whenever I do a beach clean up, I find cutlery.
In 2018, the Ocean Conservancy held an International Cleanup, with 1,080,358 volunteers in more than 120 countries, collecting 23.3 million pounds of trash. Plastic cutlery made the top five worst offenders, with nearly 2 million pieces found.
You may or may not know that they have also found plastic forks in turtles’ noses. Yup.
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐌𝐄 𝐆𝐀𝐌𝐄
We can blame the producers and the businesses that stock these items. OR we can blame people for using and discarding them after 5 minutes. Some governments have banned these items, but why is it that I still see them everywhere, from the sidewalk to the pebbly beach?
If we all know about the problem, why do we have such short memories when it comes to standing in line for that McDonalds/ KFC burger or that ice cream?
But let’s try to move away from blame and guilt and suggest alternative options.
𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘥𝘰 𝘸𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘰𝘯? 𝘉𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦.
𝐏𝐑𝐄𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐎𝐍 & 𝐏𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆
You already own cutlery. You don’t have to buy a fancy bamboo kit online. Use what you have.
Carry a set with you to work, in your bag/ handbag/ briefcase/ backpack.
Use. Wash. Dry. Pack. And repeat.
When you get take-away food/ ice cream, tell the server at the beginning that you don’t need cutlery. It helps to 𝐒𝐇𝐎𝗪 your cutlery, so that they remember (their packing actions are automated, so it’s 𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐘 hard to break this habit. The whole industry needs re-training.)
You might find that the server will give you cutlery, even if you asked for none. Again, automated habits. They probably heard you, but it’s so ingrained. 𝘋𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘶𝘱.
You can expect success at your favorite place. When you repeatedly make the same request, you will be associated with being an exception to the rule. 𝘋𝘖𝘕’𝘛 𝘚𝘛𝘖𝘗 𝘈𝘚𝘒𝘐𝘕𝘎!
– Dine in the restaurant instead (if they offer real cutlery)
– Support businesses that use real cutlery.
– Look after your waistline and skip take-away.