As a young girl, I was always taught to reduce, reuse, and recycle to protect the environment. But when it came to plastic silverware, I wasn’t sure if it was recyclable.
Can you recycle plastic silverware? I did some research and was surprised to learn that some types of plastic silverware can be recycled, while others cannot. Now, I make sure to check the recycling symbols on my plastic silverware and properly dispose of it to help reduce waste and protect the planet.
Plastic silverware are forks, spoons, sporks, and knives composed primarily of plastic produced from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer. They are commonly in lunchboxes or delivery containers.
If you’re wondering if you can recycle plastic silverware, don’t worry! This post will give you all the information you need to know. Continue reading!
Can You Recycle Plastic Silverware?
Yes, you can recycle and reuse plastic silverware. To reuse, you should clean or wash the cutlery after use. For instance, if you have a busy schedule, this cutlery is better for you because it does not require much time to clean up after usage.
Thus, plastic silverware is made from polystyrene, PET, or polypropylene, making it recyclable, but they are rarely accepted.
Reasons Some Recycling Centers Don’t Accept Plastic Silverware
Few counties accept plastic silverware, and others don’t. Some of the reasons they refuse to recycle plastic silverware are:
Unlike metal silverware, plastic silverware is made of various plastics with varying melting temperatures and densities. Some may have more than one type of plastic, making recycling them more challenging. It is difficult for machines to identify them into their respective categories because of their asymmetrical shape.
Plastic silverware likely causes damage to the machine, making recycling these polymers expensive and taking time.
The Idea Behind Recycling/Reusing Plastic Silverware
Generally, you should know the plastic numbers. If you do not understand the meaning of the numbers, you cannot begin recycling plastic silverware. You probably noticed the bodies of your plastic silverware have numbers indicating if it’s possible to convert the plastics into new materials.
The numbers range from one to seven, and each number has its meaning. The numbers 1 and 2 are typically recyclable, while numbers 3 through 7 could be a little more challenging to recycle.
Depending on your location, it is possible to recycle this plastic silverware; nevertheless, most local recycling centers don’t take them.
Guide For Recycling & Reusing
Most of us know we should recycle plastic bottles and containers, but did you know you can recycle plastic silverware too? It includes forks, knives, and spoons. Although some recycling facilities may not accept plastic silverware, there are ways that you can recycle or reuse it yourself.
Below are some tips:
- If your local recycling facility does not accept plastic silverware, you can check with your local grocery store or restaurant. Most of these places have recycling bins for the silverware.
- If you don’t have access to a recycling bin, wash or reuse them.
- If you’re crafty, you can upcycle the plastics into new and attractive objects. For example, you can make a wind chime or a mobile out of plastic forks.
So, next time you use plastic silverware, don’t throw it away! recycle or reuse it instead.
Disadvantages Of Recycling And Reusing Plastic Silverware
Even though plastic silverware does not break down in the environment like other materials, recycling or reusing it is still not a good idea. The following are some of the issues that arise:
1. Studies have shown that recycling plastic silverware can cause dangerous chemicals to penetrate the food.
2. It contributes to air and water pollution; for example, these plastics discharge toxic substances into the atmosphere, and it takes up to a thousand years for plastic to decompose. As a result, they eventually end up in the oceans and rivers, where they cannot decay completely.
3. Wildlife may confuse them for food, which could result in animals starving to death or dying from choking on silverware parts.
4. Unlike paper, plastic does not break down easily instead, it decomposes over time into smaller fragments, and those fragments continue to cause harm to the environment even after being thrown away into dumps or rivers.
5. Furthermore making plastic silverware consumes a large amount of carbon energy or fossil fuels, which generates carbon dioxide that worsens climate change.
Other Ways You Can Recycle Plastic Cuttlery
The size and shape of plastic silverware make recycling a little more problematic. We have compiled some alternatives you can opt for. They are as follows:
If you have a lot of unused plastic cutlery, donate or give them out. It seems wasteful to throw it away because there are many other uses for it. So instead of tossing them out in the trash, you can give them to a charitable organization.
There are numerous charitable organizations like good will that are probably at a close distance, and you can locate some in your neighbourhood. This Plastic cutlery is a common item they are always willing to accept as donations. Moreover, they would appreciate it if you could provide them with some clean spoons and forks.
Reduce Plastic Silverware Usage:
Since recycling polystyrene is difficult and reusing it is risky, the best solution is to use it less. For instance, ask your server to remove the plastic silverware when you order takeaways. In addition, try bringing reusable ones to business lunches or other occasions. When it comes to plastic silverware, reducing its usage is better than reusing or recycling.
Note: Almost every home has plastic silverware. It is easier to use, but washing and reusing them is harmful. Thus, they are for single use. You can replace them with reusable ones and ensure they aren’t littered.
Plastic silverware is portable and recyclable. You should, however, verify with the recycling center in your area or the department of environmental services in your state to see whether or not such agencies take plastic silverware. If they don’t, you can always use the alternatives listed above.
Is Plastic Silverware Biodegradable?
No, plastic silverware cannot decay. It comprises polystyrene, which can harm the environment, and would only shatter into tiny parts and remain like that.
Is Plastic Silverware Compostable?
Plastics are not compostable. It is because microbes can’t break them down, contributing to the pollution of the natural environment.
Is it advisable to use plastic in the kitchen?
When preparing your meals, it is highly recommended you stop using plastic utensils.