Know what would be really different? If you’re sitting around with friends enjoying dinner, and suddenly you start eating your knife and fork. Of course you can’t eat silver or plastic, but edible utensils do exist, and you might have seen them recently on Facebook.
Edible spoons, forks and chopsticks, known as Bakeys, were created by Narayana Peesapaty of Hyderabad India. They’re made from a mix of millet, rice and wheat flours and are baked dry. They come in 3 flavors: plain, sweet, and spicy (a mix of black pepper, cumin, and caraway), so they go with the flavor of the food you’re eating, and have a 3-year shelf life.
Plastic silverware is cheap and easy, but it’s also incredibly wasteful. Much of it contains polystyrene (styrofoam), which can leach a chemical called styrene that can cause eye irritation, headaches, fatigue and depression. The toxic substance has even been linked in some studies to an increased risk of lymphoma and leukemia.
And while you can recycle polystyrene, many companies simply toss it as recycling it is not cost-effective.
If you choose not to eat your Bakeys silverware, it’s no big whoop. If you throw them out, they decompose in 4 or 5 days. No one is really sure how long it takes polystyrene to break down, but it takes a long time. And in the process, the #6 plastic crumbles into smaller and smaller pieces which are often eaten by marine animals who mistake it for food, and eventually polystyrene works its way up the food chain. It’s a product that some companies are phasing out in an effort to help the environment.
If you want to try Bakeys, make sure you’re really devoted to using the crunchy silverware and cutting down on plastic waste, because you can’t just order a dozen forks. If you live outside of Hyderabad, you have to order at least 10,000 Bakeys at a time.
As I said, they have a 3-year shelf life, but even so…you’d have to have a lot of dinner parties to use them all up.
Julie Fidler is a freelance writer, legal blogger, and the author of Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or the Absolute Worst. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two ridiculously spoiled cats. She occasionally pontificates on her blog.