Can bamboo cutlery be recycled?
The short answer is that there are many different manufacturers of bamboo cutlery. Some create machine-made sets that are coated using harmful chemicals, whilst others create organic sets that are BPA-free. Organic bamboo cutlery sets like the ones from Jungle Culture can be recycled by simply putting them in the recycling bin, whilst chemical coated sets need to be sent to specialists.
Why recycling bamboo cutlery is good
Bamboo utensils are an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic cutlery. But are bamboo cutlery sets zerowaste? Are they sustainable? And most importantly, can bamboo cutlery be composted?
Before we answer whether bamboo cutlery can be recycled, we should firstly look at why exactly we recycle.
Recycling is the process of taking old and worn out items and turning them into new products, which therefore extends the lifecycle of the material used to make the product. Lots of things are recyclable, such as fabric and lots of types of metals.
So, can bamboo cutlery or bamboo straws be recycled? The answer is yes it can. Wood products (or technically grass) can be recycled in most instances. Bamboo straws and cutlery (even custom branded bamboo cutlery) are no exception and in order to recycle bamboo utensils you simply need to wash them and take them to a recycling centre… But there is a better, quicker and cheaper way to dispose of your bamboo cutlery at the end of it’s life.
Why we shouldn't recycle bamboo cutlery
Composting is a much more sustainable and environmentally friendly process than recycling. Since bamboo straws and cutlery are 100% natural there is no danger in breaking them up and using them as soil fertiliser.
In many Western countries we have compost bins. And for those that do, simply break up your cutlery or chop it into a few pieces to help it biodegrade and place it in your compost bin with excess food and organics.
If you do not have a compost bin, your reusable cutlery and straws are essentially sticks! Just break them into a few pieces and toss them into the soil in your garden. Insects and plants will have no trouble breaking them down.
Any other composting tips – Feel free to post them in the comments below!