Back to the future: Report claims wooden cutlery is viable substitute for plastic utensils

New business research claims that the wooden cutlery market is estimated to reach a value of approximately $150 million in 2019 and expand at a CAGR of around 5% between 2019 and 2029. The study suggests that "wooden cutlery is a better alternative to plastic and steel cutlery, owing to its eco-friendly and biodegradable properties,” said the report by Future Market Insights (New York).

wooden spoon with ice creamTree-huggers of the world, unite! Stop this insensitive use of trees to create the cutlery of ages past. I think that even the Knights of the Round Table ate with metal cutlery! We don’t need trees to produce wooden spoons—we need trees to consume all the CO2 they possibly can to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere!

Of course, the biggest opportunities for wooden cutlery “abound” in East Asia and South Asia, said the report’s summary. “East Asia holds a significant share in the global wooden cutlery market, and is expected to attain notable CAGR during the forecast period. In East Asia, China is foreseen to remain a prominent market, accounting for half of the revenue share during that period,” said the report’s summary. “China, with low labor cost and highly efficient workers, produces large volumes of wooden cutlery. Wooden cutlery made in China is available at a comparatively low price, and is exported in large volumes to other regions.”

That makes perfect sense since China needs more jobs for its workers now that many U.S.-based companies are moving from China to Southeast Asian countries. China’s workers can man CNC machinery to create wooden forks and spoons, or carve out these items by hand. That should keep everyone busy for quite some time.

How many trees would have to be cut down to supply the world with this “eco-friendly” cutlery? I didn’t see any estimates in the report. Will all of this wooden cutlery end up in the environment so that it can degrade? Or will it end up in landfills where nothing degrades?

I remember eating ice cream in paperboard containers back in the 1950s and 1960s. The box came with a small, flat wooden utensil that was barely shaped like a spoon. It tasted terrible and the wood was not smooth. My biggest fear was getting a splinter in my tongue.

Chopping down the Earth’s forests just to make “disposable” cutlery is a pretty ridiculous idea and one that will not really help make the planet a better—or greener—place.

As Jon Huntsman Sr. would say, “Use old dinosaurs, not new trees!

Image: Nerudol/Adobe Stock

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