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Life Cycle of Disposable Wooden Utensils

Life Cycle of Disposable Wooden Utensils

Issue Time:2022/06/27
In 2018 alone, more than 54 billion pounds of plastic ended up in U.S. landfills, where it will sit for up to 1,000 years before decomposing. Single-use plastic utensils require a lot of energy to produce, and most are stuffed into drawers or thrown in the trash after one use. In the climate conditions we are currently facing, it is especially important to start relying on non-toxic, biodegradable materials.

This is where wood comes in. When made properly, single-use wooden utensils have the same durable properties as plastic without putting more stress on the planet. Their journey begins and ends in nature, with respect for the environment at every stage along the way. Let's break it down.

Stage 1: Tree growth and harvest

Plastic utensils rely on finite resources such as oil – which take millions of years to form – while wooden utensils rely on renewable resources: wood or bamboo. When a tree is felled and harvested, a new tree is planted in its place. At the end of the day, forest losses and gains are equal. The environment is not harmed, and we have the materials we need to make single-use wooden utensils that will one day return to Earth.

The best woods for disposable tableware are birch and bamboo. Due to their naturally powerful properties, they are not only easy to process but also growing rapidly. Birch takes 30 years to fully grow, bamboo only 5 years - much better than oil, which runs out long before it's replenished.

Stage 2: Processing

Even before single-use wooden utensils reach consumers, they loosen up the environment. Plastic production requires large amounts of water, energy, and oil. It even leaves harmful man-made chemicals in its wake. In contrast, birch and bamboo leave almost no footprints and are definitely not toxic.

Looking at five major environmental factors in manufacturing, birch and bamboo utensils outperformed plastic in every category:

They create zero harmful by-products

They require very little water (if any)

They consume much less energy during their life cycle

Their global warming potential is small

They put less carbon dioxide into the air

These five factors add up to prove that creating new products can be a safe and friendly process. Manufacturers do not need to pollute and destroy the environment in order to make a great appliance.

Stage 3: Use

Like other single-use spoons, forks, and knives, single-use wooden cutlery is commonly stored in fast food and fast food restaurants. Here, they are used internally and distributed with takeaway orders. Sure, it's exciting for customers to see their dining utensils look fancy, but beyond the charm, wooden utensils have a function that can't be matched.

Properly made, disposable wooden tableware can not only reflect the excellent quality of plastic tableware but also eliminate disadvantages. Not only are they good for the environment and the restaurant's brand image, but they're durable, comfortable, and suitable for hard food. Their lifespan is active, not fragile.

The purpose of single-use plastic utensils is short-term single-use. They wear out quickly and are not safe to use after washing. Disposable wooden utensils can only be used once, but their functionality does not go away after a quick rinse. If someone wants to, they can wash and reuse wooden utensils before discarding them.

Stage 4: Disposal and composting

Disposable wooden utensils are ready to be thrown away after the task has been dutifully completed. Fortunately, they don't suffer the same fate as other single-use appliances, which get trapped in landfills, take up space, and emit potent greenhouse gases.

Like food scraps, coffee grounds, leaves, and twigs, birch and bamboo utensils are fully compostable. This means they can be combined with other organic materials and used to fertilize the soil. Composting single-use wooden utensils ensure that the nutrients in the wood are recovered and the carbon is returned to the ground. This is better than being released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which can stay in the air for up to 1,000 years. Composting can be done by restaurants on a commercial level or in the consumer's own backyard.

If single-use wooden utensils are accidentally thrown into the bin instead of being sorted with compost, it ends up in a landfill. It's not ideal, but it won't stay there for long due to natural decomposition.

Stage 5: Decomposition

Once the wooden utensil has been dealt with, it has almost completed its life cycle, but not without one last time out of the competition. Wood is completely natural, so it is fully biodegradable and breaks down quickly. On the other hand, every plastic appliance ever made is still around today. The life cycle of plastic utensils doesn't end with decomposition -- in fact, it never really ends.

Although plastic is derived from natural resources, it is not entirely natural. There is no process in nature for making polymers containing plastics, and in turn, there is no way in nature to break down these polymers. Plastic utensils are not biodegradable or compostable, and even if they are put into recycling bins, they may still end up in landfills. This is because reusing them is usually not cost-effective.

Plant-based plastic utensils have become a trendy alternative to regular plastics because they can be composted in industrial facilities, but even those aren't biodegradable. Since most plastic utensils end up in the trash, these utensils are in the same position as their classic counterparts: stuck in landfills, not broken down.

Wooden utensils, on the other hand, decompose on their own, no matter where they end up. If they veer off course and land in the ocean or landfill, they will still deteriorate, albeit not as quickly as they are correctly disposed of.

The ideal finish line for disposable wooden utensils is being added to the compost. Here, it breaks down in about 90 days, enriching the soil it came from to support the growth of other trees and plants. This is what we call the life cycle.

The above describes the life cycle of disposable wooden utensils in detail. If you want to buy disposable tableware, please contact us.

Greenwood is a professional custom disposable wooden tableware manufacturer. The products cover 116 styles of bamboo and wood disposable tableware in 10 categories. At the same time, Greenwood's R&D center is also constantly researching market demand and developing more wooden disposable tableware styles that are close to market demand. After more than 20 years of accumulation and upgrading, Greenwood has mature and complete core technology experience and has obtained many certifications such as BRC, BSCI, FSC, SGS, LFGB, etc., which can ensure product quality efficiently, stably, and safely.