Don't toss it, eat it. With these edible cutlery from Bakeys, to-go food may be about to get a bit greener.
Hold on to your compostable flatware, as the single-use utensil market could be getting an edible makeover, thanks to Bakey's.
Up until fairly recently, the next best solution to the vast amounts of plastic 'disposable' cutlery we create and consume on this planet has been to focus on creating better compostable, or biodegradable, single-use consumer goods, which is a small step forward, and a decent alternative to virgin plastics. But there may be an even better solution, or at least a better partial solution, which is to make certain of these items actually edible, so there's no lengthy composting process involved and no recycling bin to find. Imagine being able to stir your coffee, then eat the spoon.
Bakeys, which was formed by Narayana Peesapaty in Hyderabad, India, in 2011 for the purpose of providing an alternative to plastic disposable cutlery and disposable bamboo chopsticks, makes truly edible cutlery using various flours, with no additives or preservatives, baked into the shape of a spoon. Simple, useful, affordable, sustainable. It's one of those ideas that seems so obvious and so fitting after you learn about it, and one which could quite possibly reduce a major plastic waste stream.
"Our Edible Cutlery is meant to be eaten after use. If you do not want to eat, simply throw it away. Insects and stray animals will eat them up or they will degrade naturally in less than three days.
These are made of flours. The flours are kneaded with plain water – no additional chemicals and not even preservatives. They are 100% natural and made under strict hygienic conditions. We have tried making them with various flours and closed on Jowar (sorghum)." - Bakeys
According to the Bakeys website, the cutlery (OK, it's just a spoon) is completely vegan and has no coatings on it, and will naturally decompose "anywhere between 3 to 7 days if insects, dogs, birds do not eat it" and that customers can specify a gluten-free recipe if desired. Additional or alternative ingredients can also be requested, such as a "pulp mix of carrot, beetroot, spinach and other spices" or the adding of flavor essences for an additional cost. The shelf life of the edible spoons is said to be about 18 months, and that the first orders to backers of the Ketto crowdfunding campaign will start being shipped near the end of April, with possible delivery by first week of May.
The Bakeys utensils are made with sorghum flour, which according to the company website, uses up to 60 times less water than rice, and the use of it for edible cutlery and other products could help create the needed market forces that will help Indian farmers gradually shift back to millets instead of focusing primarily on rice production.
[Update: I just found out that there is a current Kickstarter campaign running for Bakeys Edible Cutlery, where backers at the $10 and up level can get 100 of the spoons, and pledges of $24 and up can receive 500 of the spoons.]
If you'd like to learn more about the product and its creation and potential impact, watch this quick video of Bakeys founder Narayana Peesapaty speaking at TEDxVITVellore: