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Table Manners

Don't load landfills with your disposable diningware. Find eco-friendly alternatives for eating away from home.

By Lauren Ladoceour


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.

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Reader Comments


Simply take your lunch in a REUSEABLE dish with your normal flatware. When finished, bring it home at the end of the day.
No need to buy all this stuff.
Common sense.


camp cookware & common sense indeed . . .

i carry MicroBites™ - they're a 5-in-1m 2-piece set: Spoon, fork, knife, spatula and spreader that snap together. They're way prettier, less flimsy, guilt-free, and made of high-temperature nylon polymer weighing less than 1oz & can withstand up to 450°F (232°C)

And they're not just carbon neutral — but carbon negative. They're part of a program called C-Minus. Each set comes with 25lbs of verified green house emissions reductions purchased as offsets.


High Five Linda,

and the unwanted plasticboxes, containing the unwanted softeners, can easily be replaced by LIGHTWEIGHT, washable metalboxes - think camping-equipment.

The hysteria for politically correct behaviour sometimes overshadows good ol' common sense.

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