Best Alternatives To Plastic Utensils And Their Benefits
Updated March 10, 2022
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People are becoming more eco-conscious, and they’re starting to reject plastic—swapping it for zero-waste alternatives—which is awesome! And part of that swap involves reusable straws and reusable travel utensils for on-the-go lifestyles.
We live in an era where being good stewards of the Earth is more important than ever. And using zero-waste options when it comes to cutlery is a fantastic step that you can take to keep our planet a little bit greener.
We also live in a time where our health is compromised, and restaurants are switching to plastic utensils as a means to keep you safe. And while that may seem like a practical thing to do (and in a sense, it is) it unfortunately contributes to even more plastic waste that ends up in landfills and our oceans. They have the right idea—it’s just unfortunate that they have to use a material that doesn’t biodegrade.
Even when restaurants do choose to offer metal utensils, I cringe at the thought of using them. I’m sure they are cleaned and sanitized, but the thought of knowing that thousands of people before me had them in their mouth, makes me cringe. That’s why I carry a reusable cutlery kit with me where ever I go.
There are so many unique alternatives to plastic utensils. Many eco-conscious individuals already carry around reusable straws—why not do the same with cutlery?
What Are The Different Types Of Reusable Utensils?
Just like reusable straws, travel utensils are available in a variety of eco-friendly materials: stainless steel, bamboo, rice husk, wheat straw, and titanium (to name a few). Each has their own unique look, and it all comes down to personal preference when deciding on a set. There are even simple and collapsible utensil kits for minimalists.
And many, if not all, portable sets come with a full spectrum of utensils consisting of: a spoon, fork, knife, reusable straws (with cleaning accessories), toothbrushes, and even chopsticks!
Where Can You Use Reusable Utensils?
Portable utensil sets aren’t just great because they’re good for the planet—they’re also incredibly convenient! You can use them while dining out, while traveling in airports, and on camping trips or hiking adventures.
Let’s take a look at a few reusable utensils below, and help you decide on which might be best for you.
Best On The Go Cutlery
Knork Bamboo Fiber + Sugar Cane Starch Utensil Set
The Knork portable utensil set is very unique because it’s reusable, compostable and biodegradable (yes, the case too!). The case itself is very slender and easily fits into a purse, cargo pocket or fanny pack. This brand also sells a stainless steel version in case you’re not a fan of plant-based utensils.
Jungle Culture Hand-Made Bamboo Utensils
These beautiful bamboo utensils by Jungle Culture are ethically sourced and hand-made in Vietnam. We also love that they’re packaged in a natural jute bag (which is a natural plant fiber). Just fold these up and place them in your bag or cargo pocket and enjoy eating out!
Each portable set of these eco-friendly utensils comes complete with a serrated bamboo knife, sturdy bamboo fork, and a bamboo tablespoon as well as a bamboo straw and coconut fibre straw cleaning brush.
SmellsLikeGreen, Inc. Stainless Steel Utensils
These eco-friendly utensils by SmellsLikeGreen, Inc. are made from stainless steel and assemble in seconds! We love the compact recycled tin container which fits easily into your purse, fanny pack and even back pocket.
“We’re the original Portable & Reusable Travel Utensil Set with case that raised more than $2 million on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Our goal is to develop aesthetically pleasing and sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics that make eating on-the-go fun, easy and responsible.” —SmellsLikeGreen, Inc.
TopBooc Stainless Steel Utensils
Topbooc utensils are made from stainless steel, which is completely and infinitely recyclable. Stainless steel utensils are great because they last a very long time, they can be washed in the dishwasher, and they are corrosion resistant—so they will not rust. As always, do not microwave metal under any circumstances.
These gorgeous travel utensils by TOPBOOC are made from food grade stainless steel. This set includes: a dinner knife, a dinner spoon, a dinner fork, chopsticks, 2 reusable straws (one bent and one straight) a straw cleaning brush and carrying case. They come in several colors—so if this “mermaid” colored set is too feminine for you, you can choose from a few dark solids.
Jungle Culture Wooden Utensil Set
This sustainable wooden utensil set by Jungle Culture is crafted using scraps from a local furniture maker and housed in an organic cotton bag, hand sewn by seamstresses in historic Hoi An, Vietnam.
This charming utensil set includes a curved wooden fork, large wooden spoon, serrated wooden knife, bamboo straw and coconut fiber straw cleaning brush. It’s quite a lovely buy for yourself or as a gift for friend or loved one.
FinalSpork Stainless Steel Collapsible Utensil
If you’re looking the simplest on-the-go utensil that you can easily fit into your back pocket—check out the FinalSpork. And if the name sounds familiar, that’s because the makers of FinalSpork also made the original FinalStraw. This spork is best for minimalists and men who obviously don’t have a purse to carry around a larger utensil kit in. This utensil easily breaks down and folds into a small carrying case and has a lifetime guarantee. It comes in really cute feminine colors as well as masculine solid colors.
FinessCity Titanium Chopsticks
If you enjoy Asian cuisine, or simply enjoy using chopsticks in general, then some light weight titanium travel chopsticks are the perfect match for you. Titanium chopsticks like the ones above by FinessCity are rust-resistant, very light weight and machine washable. They come with a compact carrying case that is available in many colors—from fun and vibrant feminine shades to masculine dark shades for the men.
To Go Ware Bamboo Utensils
Bamboo is a fast-growing, all-natural grass that is incredibly durable, so utensils will last a very long time, if cared for properly. With that said, Bamboo utensils should not be washed in the dishwasher—as the harsh detergent and heat can actually result in damage to this beautiful cutlery. On the plus side, bamboo has natural anti-bacterial properties and is 100% biodegradable.
This simple travel utensil set by To Go Ware is made from 100% organic bamboo. This set includes a dinner knife, a dinner spoon, a dinner fork, and one pair of chopsticks—making this kit very ideal for sustainable travel! The carrying case is small and compact and protects your utensils from scratches.
Honbay Wheat Straw Utensils
Wheat straw is left over stalk from harvested wheat grains. Interestingly, wheat straw used to be considered waste. Farmers would literally burn it because it served no purpose—until now.
Wheat straw is quickly becoming a highly popular reclaimed resource. It is currently being used as lightweight, compostable packaging, and many facilities are turning them into dishes, bowls, cups and you guessed it, utensils!
This reusable travel utensil set by HONBAY is made from such biodegradable wheat straw. It comes with a dinner fork, a dinner spoon, chopsticks, and a durable wheat straw carrying case. They are both microwave and dishwasher safe.
If you’re wondering or worried about discoloration—don’t. This set is stain resistant—not even spaghetti will stain these bad boys. Although this set doesn’t come with a knife or reusable straw like most other sets do, it’s still really cool. Plus, it’s small and compact—perfect for kids’ school lunches!
Tiware Titanium Utensils
Titanium is a strong element with a low corrosion level that’s dishwasher safe, and preferred amongst avid outdoorsmen for its resiliency. Many hikers and campers prefer to use reusable water bottles, cookware and cutlery that is composed of titanium because they’re lightweight yet tough, and cool down faster than let’s say aluminum or stainless steel.
This titanium cutlery set by Tiware comes with your standard fork, spoon, knife, reusable straw, carrying case and a couple of other accessories. It’s stain resistant and great for outdoor recreation like hiking or camping.
TruEarth Bamboo Utensils
These sustainable and eco-friendly bamboo utensils by TruEarth come wrapped in a convenient cloth carrier. It consists of an all-fiber bamboo spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks, straw and straw cleaning brush.