The Green Medium is an Emerald Award-winning, youth-run blog that seeks to innovate how we discuss and inform ourselves on environmental concerns.

Stick A(n) (Edible) Fork In It!

Everybody enjoys take-out once in awhile. Or often. I’m not judging. The problem that comes with eating out, however, is the plastic cutlery that restaurants often will give you regardless of if you ask for it or not. But fear not! There’s a solution– and it’s a very, very good one. Edible cutlery!

Narayana Peesapaty, the founder of BAKEY’S Edible Cutlery in India, invented the 3 to 4 ingredient utensil. It consists of sorghum (a cereal grain), rice, and wheat flours– along with hot water added in order to make it into a sort of dough and then bake it. As of right now, they make 3 flavours. Plain (the ingredients listed above), Sweet (little sugar added to the flour mix), and Savoury (adding rock salt, black pepper, carom seeds, and cumin seeds). The fun part is that it’s 100% vegan, purely Halal, and has no harmful chemicals or preservatives because it’s made out of just 3 ingredients! Along with all these wonderful things, they are working hard to make orders that are completely gluten-free. It's also good for micro-nutrition intake. You can find out more about the nutrition facts on their website, www.bakeys.com/edible-cutlery/.

Peesapaty munchin' on some edible spoons. Photo taken from rachfeed.com's article on Peesapaty. 

Peesapaty munchin' on some edible spoons. Photo taken from rachfeed.com's article on Peesapaty. 

The pros of the edible cutlery outweigh the cons of plastic. Both are low cost and high convenience but the edible cutlery is not only good for your health in comparison to the carcinogenic plastic, it’s also good for the environment. By creating something that's biodegradable (and a decent fertilizer!), it gives you the option to eat it or just toss it. When you toss it, you also don't have the weight on your conscience that you are contributing to the fact that enough plastic is wasted in a year to circle the Earth four times over. 

Since disposable cutlery is meant to be used only once and then thrown into the garbage where it will end up in a landfill, it only makes sense to make the effort to have them decompose easily. This way, they don't end up in oceans harming sea-life or in the stomachs of birds and other animals. In comparison to 450 years (the time it takes for plastic cutlery to decompose), 3 to 7 days doesn't seem like a very long time to wait for this edible cutlery to decompose. Plus, you can put it in a composter. 

The only downside about edible cutlery is that it isn't widespread enough for mass consumption. Although plastic outweighs the shelf-life of edible cutlery (3 years for edible, 500-1,000 years for plastic. Which is disgusting), I have no doubt that somebody somewhere is ordering take-out. This means that the plastic cutlery that comes along with that order could be replaced by edible cutlery. With this in mind, the shelf-life of the edible cutlery shouldn't be a problem in funding mass production because somebody uses disposable cutlery every day anyway. Without mass production, the cutlery is just a little bit more expensive than plastic cutlery but will become just as cheap (or cheaper!) once it is more widespread. (You can go to their website to purchase the cutlery in order to help it become more widespread.) Yay!

- J

Photo taken from ecoideaz.com.

Photo taken from ecoideaz.com.

Sources:

http://students.arch.utah.edu/courses/Arch4011/Recycling%20Facts1.pdf

http://www.bakeys.com/edible-cutlery/

Making-Up: New Year's Resolution

This Term's Writer: Jiaxi