To-Go Ware and Bamboo; the Sustainable Multi-Tasker

November 07, 2008

To-Go Ware is helping save the planet one fork at a time with sustainable bamboo cutlery...

If you’re having a really busy day – travelling maybe, or just on the go, so much so that you grab your meals where you can in to-go containers – ever wonder what happens to all those plastic utensils, Styrofoam cups and containers and plastic packaging we carelessly toss into trash cans? Even if there happens to be a recycling bin close at hand - let’s face it, that’s not the end of the story - depending on the local recycling facilities not everything actually gets recycled, but instead ends up with the trash-can contents in a landfill – that’s the sad truth. Even for those of us who were already aware of this depressing fact, busy schedules and pressures of modern life still dictate that we ignore it and go on rushing about from meeting to plane to train – now just feeling a bit guilty.
Well, small changes can make a big difference and in the US enough plastic forks and knives alone are thrown away to circle the equator 300 times – a fact that caused Stephanie Bernstein, CEO and founder of To-Go Ware to create an alternative.
To-Go Ware is a reusable utensil kit – natural bamboo cutlery; knife, fork, spoon and chopsticks all stored in a closeable plastic pouch that can be easily thrown into a bag or glove compartment in the car. The plastic pouch is made entirely of recycled plastic by CONSERVE who employ rag pickers in Delhi, India to collect discarded plastic bags; providing them employment and easing the landfill burden by repurposing millions of plastic bags into useful products.
The petrochemicals in plastic cutlery create dioxins and other environmentally harmful substances as they sit in landfills, whereas bamboo is a highly durable resource that can be grown and harvested sustainably.
The rapid growing cycle of bamboo means it can be harvested every five years and requires less energy to produce than other woods – although bamboo is actually classified as a species of grass - as a woody perennial evergreen it is the fastest growing woody plant in the world (given the right soil and climate conditions).
As well as being a food source in Asia and India and used for medicinal purposes, bamboo is the source of a wide ranging number of products, from flooring to furniture to fabric and when treated creates a hardwood of exceptional durability which is used for scaffolding and as a replacement for steel reinforcing rods in concrete in some parts of the world (although it is susceptible to insect infestation unless treated or kept very dry). The hollowed out stem of a large plant is used as a cooking pot and we’ve all seen those attractive bamboo chopping boards in kitchen stores…this versatile plant has been put to so many uses, including making paper from the fibers – and clothing.
However, it is interesting to note that while growing bamboo itself is sustainable, the process used to break down the fibers to make yarn for cloth involves strong chemical solvents which are not at all environmentally friendly.
So if you are one of those people who eat on the go all the time, get yourself a set of To-Go Ware and keep count of how many plastic utensils you save over a month or a year and feel a little bit less guilty while you rush around!