So often it’s convenience that drives us to make non-eco-friendly decisions. I believe deep down we all want what’s best for this incredible planet of ours, after all, if it doesn’t exist, neither do we. But, as I mentioned in this post, those good intentions often get lost in just trying to live our day-to-day lives. In my case, my own forgetfulness often comes into play when it comes to creating unnecessary waste: Left my water bottle at home? I’ll just pick up a bottle of water at the store. Packed my lunch today, but darn, no fork, knife, or spoon… Nothing a plastic utensil can’t fix. Forgot my reusable bags again…
These occurrences happen more than I’d like to admit. I’m always sure to recycle what’s left behind, but if I hadn’t been so careless in the beginning, there would be one less plastic bottle, one less plastic fork, and one less paper or plastic bag heading to the recycling facility. Americans create about 200 million tons of garbage annually, and about 75% of that is recyclable. The truly unfortunate number is 30%, that’s the percentage that we’re actually recycling. Obviously, we should be doing as much as we can to ensure what can be recycled is, but we need to be working towards those first two R’s as well: Reduce and reuse.
This month I’ve been taking a good, hard look at my everyday habits and doing everything I can to reduce the amount of trash I produce and this week I’m tackling my unnecessary consumption of plastic utensils. It may sound silly or insignificant, but if you’re like me and pack your lunch everyday, maybe you too use a plastic fork or spoon to eat it with. That’s at least five pieces of plastic per week. 260 pieces per year! Many recycling programs accept plastic cutlery, but many do not, which means you never know if that spoon or knife is headed for reincarnation, or if it’s just destined for the landfill.
The obvious solution is to reduce. Instead of using what’s convenient and right there, plastic and disposable, make it a habit to bring your own reusable fork, knife, and spoon from home all wrapped up in a homemade carrier. Keep this cute set in your bag, and you’ll never be at the mercy of convenience — and unnecessary waste — again. Read on for the tutorial:
Fabric (I used cotton muslin)
Sewing machine or needle & thread
Ribbon or twine
Cut your fabric into a 13 x 13-inch square (larger if your cutlery is longer then 6″), then press out any wrinkles using the iron. Fold the edges of the fabric over by 1/2-inch and press with the iron, pinning into place.
Sew a 1/4-inch hem on all sides.
With the hem facing towards you, fold up 5 inches of the fabric to create a pocket. Pin the ends shut. You should be left with a 3-inch flap above the top of the pocket.
Sew the pinned ends shut.
Next, sew three lines of straight stitch over the main pocket to create four mini pockets where you can slide in your fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, etc.
Trim the threads and add your lunchtime essentials! Wrap everything up and secure it with a ribbon or some twine, keep at your desk or in your bag to always have a sustainable option handy.
+ How are you working towards reducing your waste and consumption? Please share in the comments!
Check out more #FPEarthMonth posts from BLDG 25!