A simple and hassle-free way to incorporate a sustainable practice in your life is to carry along a set of reusable utensils when dining out. It’s a wonderful way to reduce your impact and your waste. If you’ve been following Tinycaravan, you may have noticed our To-Go Ware utensils, a set of reusable utensils made from compostable bamboo. We like them because they’re portable, lightweight, and come with a small pouch that can easily fit in our tote bags, book bags, or fanny packs. There’s also extra room in the pouch to slip in our metal straws.
A lot of our friends pack their own utensils from home too. You can keep your utensils clean and ready to go in a carrier like this or any pouch you already have at home.
To inspire you on your next outing, we’re revealing a few places we have taken our reusable utensils.
Coffee Shop. Great for quick snack stops. Instead of a plastic knife, we used our reusable knife to spread cream cheese on a bagel. Not pictured here, but we also brought our reusable water bottle to fill up with coffee and tea.
Taco Shop or Food Truck. While we wish we could have done without the styrofoam, we’re glad to have used our reusable forks here. For us, living more sustainably is not about being perfect, but looking for ways to limit our impact when we can. Next time, we want to ask the chefs to place our food in our own glass or stainless steel container. Some restaurants may say “no” due to health reasons, but it won’t hurt to ask.
Most Restaurants. We have utilized our reusable utensils at many fast food and take-out restaurants who only offer one-time use utensils. Here, we opt to use our reusable chopsticks in place of disposable ones. We’ve also used our chopsticks at many Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese restaurants too.
Ice Cream Shop. Utensils perfect for dessert! The cashier took notice of our reusable spoon and said, “You brought your own spoon? That’s so cool. I should do that too.” Moments like these remind us small actions can make big impacts. By choosing to carry our own utensil we can inspire someone else along the way to do the same. It’s cool and humbling.
Flights. We travel often and it was nice to know these are TSA compliant. This was taken on a recent trip to Seattle, Washington. The reusable utensils were lightweight and small enough to slip into our carry-on without much hassle.
There you have it. You can carry and use a set of reusable utensil anywhere. Though a small action, it is a stance against plastic –– and a great conversation starter. At first, we were shy to use them in public, but through our personal experiences, we’ve received mostly positive reactions. Strangers have asked us about them and coworkers have been inspired to carry their own sets. Our friends have also taken notice and done the same. It’s amazing to know how influential a small lifestyle change can be. Think of all the plastic we can all say “no” to in a day, a week, a month, and even a year!
Do you bring your own set of reusable utensils with you when dining out? Has anyone asked about them?
Jennifer and Vivian
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How do you guys clean your utensils after eating if you’re not anywhere near a sink? I can’t imagine you can store them back in the pouch while they’re dirty.
Luckily, we usually use our utensils while eating out at a restaurant that only offers disposable utensils and there’s a sink there. But if we’re not near a sink, and there is no water fountain nearby, we’ll use water from our water bottles to do a quick rinse to get rid of food particles, or just wrap our utensils in our cloth napkins. Then we’ll wash with soap and water when we get home.
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