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What Are the Pros and Cons of Bamboo Cutlery?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2014
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Bamboo cutlery can be used in place of disposable cutlery that is made from other materials. There are a number of benefits to using this type of cutlery. Bamboo can be grown sustainably, does not pollute the environment, and composts relatively quickly. It does, however, cost more to produce than many other materials and is often grown in conditions that make it less eco-friendly than it would seem. In Europe and America, it is also necessary to ship the bamboo from countries that grow it, such as China, adding to the cost of bamboo cutlery.

One of the main benefits of bamboo cutlery is that it can be composted. Bamboo is a natural wood and will decompose, releasing its nutrients back into the earth, where it can be used to help other plants grow. In order for the planet to benefit from the natural materials in bamboo cutlery, it needs to be placed in a compost pile rather than in a landfill. Throwing this type of cutlery in the garbage when it is no longer needed will simply create more landfill, just as throwing plastic cutlery away will.

Bamboo grows very quickly, often at a rate of up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) per day. This makes it possible to make a great deal of bamboo cutlery from a small bamboo farm. This type of cutlery is also more durable than many disposable products and can be reused for a time before it is composted.

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Though there are many benefits to using bamboo cutlery, this type of cutlery is more expensive to produce than disposable cutlery made from plastic or other biodegradable products. One of the largest expenses in making bamboo cutlery is the cost of transporting it around the world. Bamboo only grows in tropical and subtropical climates and must be shipped to nations outside of these regions. Unfortunately, many of the nations, such as the United States and the European nations, that would make the most use of bamboo cutlery as an alternative to plastic must import bamboo, making bamboo cutlery less cost-effective in terms of money and pollution produced by transportation.

Another problem with bamboo cutlery is that it must be disposed of properly in order to positively impact the environment. Many biodegradable products are placed in the garbage when they are no longer needed. These products do not biodegrade and contribute to the creation of more landfill.

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