THE ECO BOSS PROJECT

An experiment in conscious living.

Commitment #9

“I will stop using plastic utensils and disposable chopsticks.”

This commitment came through while sitting at a graduation party in Waikoloa. I was putting away my reusable chopsticks and noticed someone staring at me. It seems my habit — started right after Kuhao Zane gave me the nifty chopstick set and case after one of his many trips to Japan — took this average partygoer by surprise. When the party was over, I peered into the trashcan and saw way too much evidence of the norm. . . scores of chopsticks and plastic utensils gone to waste after just one use, to no one’s surprise.

Now with the debate over the true environmental cost of disposable chopsticks raging, it’s hard to get exact figures about how many trees are laid to waste to produce the nearly 100 billion waribashi (disposable hashi) used globally each year. At those numbers, I’d say the details don’t matter. Anything that gets used one time that much and that often is laying something to waste and I don’t care to be a part of it.

The greatest challenge to keeping this commitment comes not when you’re at a restaurant but when you’re throwing a party.  Who has enough utensils to supply more than a dozen guests? For those situations, go for bamboo chopsticks or bioplastic utensils (usually made from corn or potato starch) like those carried at Sustainable Island Products in Hilo. As a fast-growing renewable resource grown without chemical inputs, bamboo waribashi come at a lower cost to the environment. And the plant-based plastics in degradable ware won’t end up in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Join me in making this lifestyle commitment at Kanu Hawai`i.

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