Table Manners

Homemade lunches are the best way to ensure that your family eats right throughout the week. But plastic utensils and polyethylene-based bags that seal your favorite sandwich add to our overflowing landfills and can take a century to decompose.

Until recently, the most eco-friendly way to cut down on container waste was to carry leftovers in heavy metal lunch boxes or store food in glass or ceramic containers. To lighten the landfill load, companies like Green Home, World Centric, and BioBag International offer disposable to-go containers, tableware, cutlery, and bags made from renewable materials such as corn or potato starches that promise to decompose in less than 180 days. Although they are 100 percent biodegradable, don’t be tempted to nibble on such starch-based disposables—these carbs aren’t designed for your
digestive system. But the no-frills bio-plastics are sturdy enough to keep food fresh. And you can wash and reuse them several times.

Some of our other favorites include these stylish organically grown bamboo sporks from Bambu Veneerware and
Recyline’s colorful recycled-plastic utensils. They’re dishwasher safe, so there’s no reason to throw them back into the recycling bin just yet.