Currently, around 40 billion plastic utensils are used in the US every year, the majority of which are used just once before being discarded. At a global level, the magnitude of this figure increases by 16 times the amount. At least 8 million tonnes of plastics leak into the ocean each year. The World Economic Forum forecast that by 2050 there will be a 1:1 ratio of fish to plastic by weight in the oceans. Plastics in their original form can remain in the ocean for hundreds of years. In small particles they can remain in the ocean for even longer. The best research currently estimates that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastic waste in the ocean today!
Bakeys is launching the world’s first edible cutlery line made of three flours: rice, wheat, and sorghum. They want to create a cutlery revolution, helping to reduce waste and ocean plastic by providing an eco-friendly alternative to disposable plastic cutlery. But they need your help: Bakeys are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to expand their collection and increase the affordability of their alternative to plastic utensils. Find out more below…
What is so bad about plastic in the ocean?
Ocean plastics significantly impact marine life. Whilst the total economic impact on maritime natural capital is unclear, initial studies suggest that it is at least in the billions of dollars. Valuing Plastic estimate the annual damage of plastics to marine ecosystems at $13 billion per year. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) estimate the cost of ocean plastics to the tourism, fishing and shipping industries was $1.3 billion in that region alone. In Europe, where plastic leakage is limited, potential costs for coastal cleaning could reach $695 million a year. There are also impacts on human livelihoods, health, food chains and other vital economic, environmental and social systems.
So what alternatives to plastic are there?
Compostable utensils made of corn are an alternative to plastic. However, many corn based biodegradable utensils are sent to landfill where they take a very long time to degrade, if they do at all, as they require a high heat to do so.
Reusable cutlery is another alternative. I would definitely promote bringing your own cutlery with you to lunch when you can, but this isn’t always feasible. It would also be a big challenge for fast food restaurants to provide sufficient, clean, reusable cutlery for the many customers that walk through their doors every day.
Bakeys edible cutlery is therefore a great replacements to current disposable utensils. Their spoons can be eaten or they can be degraded in any outside environment. They do not have specific requirements for degradations, just exposure to nature. Typically they will degrade within 10 days if they aren’t eaten by animals first.
Bakeys want to make their cutlery available to as many people as they can. That’s why their spoons are fully vegan, preservative free, trans fat free, dairy free and operate on principals of fair trade. They are currently working to attain the following certifications this year:
The ingredients are as simple with no preservatives. They include: sorghum flour, rice flour, and wheat flour. The lack of water, moisture, or fat allows the spoons to have a long shelf life without the need for extra preservatives. The spoons currently contain less than 10 ppm in gluten, but they are working to be certified gluten free using absolutely no wheat.
The presence of sorghum ensure the spoon does not degrade within liquids like soup. Sorghum is a hearty crop that is strong, abundant, and requires very little energy for cultivation. Of the energy it takes to produce 1 plastic utensil, Bakeys can produce 100 sorghum based spoons. Sorghum is able to grow on 95% of the world’s arable land as it requires far fewer nutrients and water for cultivation than other crops typically used for biodegradables like sugarcane and corn.
Do they just have edible spoons?
Currently, Bakeys have molds to produce chopsticks, dessert spoons, and forks. Their plan is to expand into cups, plates, and many more traditional disposable tableware. But they need your help: Bakey’s are currently running a campaign on Kickstarter to raise $20,000 to expand their lines. They need to purchase additional molds for new utensils. In order to keep their price per spoon competitive so that everyone can use them, they need a large quantity of molds to be run each time of production. Bakeys also want to further simplify their packaging process to minimize any outside packaging that may end up thrown out. They currently package spoons in bulk in biodegradable cellophane.
The Kickstarter campaign ends in 11 days on April 17th. Pledge just $10 and you will receive 100 edible spoons in your choice of flavour. Click here to find out more and make your pledge.
Here are the current flavours they have available:
To find out more, visit Bakeys website: http://www.bakeys.com/