tableware: reuse over recycle

So we are all tired of both non-recyclable and recyclable table ware. Why oh why is it so difficult to provide proper reusable table ware? So what are the current options?

I would love to read some well-researched papers on energy-intensity, raw material waste, etc.

1. reusable
I would assume porcelain and metal cutlery is best due to durability but I am certain there are other materials that could be more innovative and possibly less energy intensive.

However, there is a big variable that is often beyond our control : dish washing. If done by hand it’s bound to be more wasteful in terms of water. Modern dishwashers are quite water and energy efficient and don’t need much detergent. Speaking of which, this is another real unknown: how much is used/wasted and is it environmentally friendly?

2. disposable recyclable
This isn’t particularly common but some food stores in the UK such as Marks&Spencer, Planet Organic and similar are offering biodegradable (wood/sugar pulp/Corn/potato/tapioca) or recyclable (certain plastics) table ware/cutlery. It is questionable whether it is intelligent to use wood — we may end up like China with bamboo chop-sticks where I think they now carry a tax to curb waste.

In terms of plastic cups I have never understood why companies don’t subscribe to¬† schemes such as save-a-cup which at the very least recycle the cups. Mind you, if you can have a coffee/tea in mug i don’t understand why you’d go for a cup… As for juices/water — I’d love to see glasses.

3. disposable non-recyclable
well, these are obvious offenders. It is questionable whether paper plates are recyclable — especially the ones that are have a glossy top layer.

As usual: no answers just questions. For the moment I’ll stick to my mug, glass, and porcelain.

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