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Food & Hunger

How to Eat Your Entire Meal — Utensils Included

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Each year, around 8 million metric tons of plastic find their way into the world’s oceans, according to Scientific American, enough to throttle marine life, introduce harmful toxins into the fish that we eat, and pollute the world’s most pristine beaches. 

In the United States, people throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. Other estimates show that the US improperly disposes of an additional 40 billion plastic utensils per year. And that’s not even to mention global consumption of plastic bags — around 500 billion of which end up in landfills and oceans worldwide each year. 

Take Action: Sign the Petition - Call on the EU to Halve Food Waste

But it doesn’t need to be that way. 

PlasticOceans.PNGImage: Plastic Oceans

Around the world, countries and companies are introducing legislation aimed at minimizing plastic waste. India banned all disposable plastic. France plans to phase out most disposable plastic cutlery by 2020. And the city of Hamburg, Germany, banned plastic coffee pods. 

As an individual consumer, you too can play a role in minimizing plastic pollution. One of the best ways to do this is by eliminating plastics from your meals — including the packaging and the cutlery. 

Read More: Eat Your Spoon, Save the World

The proliferation of edible products, such as edible water bottles, spoons, and cups is on the cutting edge of sustainable technology.  

Here’s how you can give them a try: 

1. Water Bottles 

Ooho! is an edible, plastic-free water bottle produced by London’s Skipping Rocks Lab. Water is contained by a “seaweed-derived membrane” that can be punctured and then slurped down along with your H2O. 

2. Forks and spoons 

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You can have your spoon and eat it too, with Bakey’s Edible Cutlery. The Indian edible cutlery company produces forks, spoons, and chopsticks from flour blended with rice and wheat, and no chemicals. The products come in plain, sweet, and savory flavors. 

3. Chopsticks

A company based in Tokyo, Marushige Confectionery, followed in the footsteps of Bakey’s, producing a line of chopsticks made from igusa, a reed-like plant found in marshes, that can be devoured alongside your sushi. 

4. Cups 

With tart cherry, yuzu citrus, matcha green tea, and vanilla bean flavors, cups at Loliware are made from “seaweed, organic sweeteners and flavors and colors derived from fruits and vegetables,” according to their site

5. Wrappers

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are currently developing an edible packaging that could one day replace plastic wrappers. And it’s made from an unlikely product: milk. Well, technically the wrappers are made from the milk protein “casein,” but it is a much more effective way of sealing products — around 500 times better than plastic, according to researchers. 

6. Plates

Made out of an unlikely combination of wheat bran and water, then heated and pressurized, these edible plates from Biotrem were invented by a Polish wheat farmer, VICE reports. If you don’t feel like eating your plates and bowls, they only take 30 days to decompose in the compost bin. 

7.  Furniture 

Baguette Tables_Vienna DW_Studio_Rygalik_photo_photo Nick Albert - Kollektiv Fischka_2.jpgImage: Nick Albert / Studio Rygalik

Do chairs and tables made from boiled and hardened candy exist? Well, of course they do. One chair, designed by a Dutch inventor contains 30 kilograms (66 pounds) of candy. Another was made by running sake, maltodextrin, and plaster of Paris through a 3-D printer. But perhaps the best food based item of furniture may just be this table, made exclusively from baguettes. 

Happy picnicking, folks!