Worldcentric.org estimates 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in just the United States. The majority of these are thrown out after just one use and end up in landfills and waterways. The numbers are even scarier in India where a whopping 120 billion pieces get caught in the landfills annually.
One start-up thinks it may have found a solution to this epidemic. Entrepreneur Narayana Peesapaty established Bakey’s Foods Private Ltd. in 2010 in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India, as an alternative to disposable plastic/wood cutlery and bamboo chopstick which are non-biodegradable. The company produces the world’s first edible cutlery line made of three flours: rice, wheat and sorghum. The ingredients are then baked into the shape of a spoon and have zero additives or preservatives.
While there are already alternatives to “disposable” utensils like compostable and biodegradable cutlery, the breaking down process can be lengthy and recycling bins aren’t exactly everywhere you look.
“Our spoons are delicious, but if they are not consumed, they are able to degrade in any outside environment, as they do not have specific requirements for degradation,” said the company on its website. “In a standard environment where the spoons are exposed to nature, they will degrade within 10 days or be eaten by other animals, similarly to a biscuit that may be thrown outdoors.”
So far Bakey’s has molds to produce chopsticks, dessert spoons and forks but would like to expand into cups, plates and many more traditional disposable tableware to create a whole line. The company has a Kickstarter campaign going on in an effort to get its volumes up to compete with plastic.
Its first offering, the edible lunch spoon, goes perfect with ice cream, yogurt and a variety of soups. The spoon itself does not degrade within liquids due to the presence of a large quantity of sorghum, a hearty crop that is strong, abundant, and requires very little energy for cultivation.
As of now the packaging contains 50 spoons altogether and Bakey’s is currently utilizing cellophane, which is biodegradable. The company is exploring other alternatives for packaging, such as water-soluble packaging inside a box.
The spoons are currently shipped both within the U.S. and internationally.
Interested in other edible packaging alternatives? See below for related stories reported by PlasticsToday.
Ooho!, inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, is a blob-like water container (similar to a water balloon) that is easy and inexpensive to make (costs only 2 cents), durable, hygienic, biodegradable, edible … not to mention, it provides zero waste. When you’re ready to drink away, all you need to do is pierce the seaweed- and calcium chloride-based membrane.
Have your cup and eat it, too
Inspired by a fascination for Jell-O, Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker started up Loliware (New York City) biodegradable, edible cups that look like colorful vintage glassware. The colorful cups are made from a plant-based gelatin and are available in a variety of flavors seasonally and are a yummy alternative to 'disposable' plastic cups.
To combat severe environmental concerns, two Vienna-based industrial designers in collaboration with microbiologists from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands have developed a device that turns plastic waste into a safe, edible and tasty treat. The conceptual device called Fungi Mutarium grows edible fungal biomass, mainly the mycelium, as a novel food product.