In the pilot episode of HBO’s ‘VEEP’, vice-president Selina Meyers (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) tries to push her Clean Jobs Commission by introducing Washington to eco-friendly cutlery, explaining, 'If I can get cornstarch utensils in most federal buildings by the fall, then the VEEP has landed.’
However, as Selena soon learns, cornstarch softens in hot liquids. But while plant-starch kitchenware might be a trendy, well-intentioned invention, melting under pressure may be the least of its problems – according to some experts, so-called “compostable” utensils can take years to actually break down, which can make them as harmful to the environment as plastic. So what’s a tree-hugging hostess-with-the-mostess to do? Luckily, there are other sustainable options on the market that will keep your party guests, AND Mother Earth, in a very good mood.
Whole Leaf Co.makes bowls, plates, and platters out of leaves from acrea palm trees in India. The process involves gathering leaves that have already fallen to the ground, cleaning them with spring water, and using heat to mold them into shape. Whole Leaf employs local workers to create their dishes, which helps the poverty-stricken local economy as well as the environment.
Wasara’s disposable tableware is so minimalist and beautiful in its design, that it’s almost sad that the pieces can only be used once. On the brighter side – they are genuinely compostable, made of “tree-free renewable materials” like bamboo, reed pulp, and sugar cane. Thin and elegant, but deceptively sturdy, they’ll add a modernist touch to any dinner party.
For those looking to be even more waste-free, why not eat your utensils? Bakey’s offers a selection of spoons that act as a side dish to the main course. Molded from a secret recipe of flour and water, they come in three different flavors – Sweet, Savory, and Plain – and are 100% vegan. If the taste isn’t for you, you can just toss them outside – they’ll break down in less than three days (that is, if stray animals and insects don’t get to them first).
Top image via HBO