How to Make Your Own Compostable Utensils at Home
Making your own compostable utensils at home is a great way to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly. With just a few simple materials, you can easily create reusable forks, spoons, knives, and more.
Why Make Compostable Utensils?
Single-use plastic utensils are hugely problematic for the environment. Many end up in landfills where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. Compostable utensils provide an excellent alternative. Here are some of the benefits of making your own compostable utensils:
Reduce plastic waste – By making your own, you avoid all the plastic utensils that would end up in landfills. This helps lower your environmental impact.
Sustainable materials – Compostable utensils are made from natural materials like wood, bamboo, wheat straw, etc. These can safely break down through industrial composting.
Cheap – Making your own utensils is very affordable. The materials needed usually cost just pennies per utensil.
Customizable – You can make utensils in different shapes, sizes, and designs. Personalize them to suit your needs.
Food safe – The natural materials used to make compostable utensils are non-toxic and safe for food use.
Making compostable utensils is easy because you only need a few basic materials:
Wooden sticks – These form the handle and base of the utensils. Look for smooth, untreated wooden sticks and dowels. Bamboo skewers also work well.
Wheat straws – Regular drinking straws made from wheat and other natural fibers can be used for spoon bowls and fork tines.
Carpenter’s wood glue – A non-toxic wood glue helps attach pieces together firmly. Opt for one that’s made from organic ingredients.
Beeswax – Melted beeswax is used to waterproof and seal the utensils. Choose unprocessed beeswax pellets or bars.
Cotton twine – Small amounts of twine can add decorative details or bind parts together while gluing.
Sandpaper (optional) – Useful for smoothing any rough edges on the wooden sticks.
Making Compostable Forks and Spoons
Making forks and spoons uses similar construction techniques. Here are the step-by-step instructions:
Step 1: Cut Wooden Sticks
Take a wooden stick that’s approximately 8 inches long. Mark the center point. Cut the stick in half using a handsaw or wire cutters to get 2 pieces that are each 4 inches long. These will form the fork/spoon handle and base.
Step 2: Attach Wheat Straws
Take 4-5 wheat straws aligned side by side. Place their bottoms against the 4-inch stick perpendicular to the wood. Use wood glue to secure the straws in place along the length of the stick.
For a fork – Glue 2 sets of straws on opposite sides of the stick with a space in between.
For a spoon – Glue the straws continuously in a single line.
Step 3: Shape and Seal
Once the glue dries, use a knife or sandpaper to trim the straw ends into fork tines or the bowl of the spoon. Seal the utensil by brushing melted beeswax on the straws and wood. Allow to fully dry before using. Add twine accents if desired.
Making Compostable Knives
Compostable knives can be made using techniques similar to the forks and spoons. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Cut and Shape Wooden Handle
Take a wooden stick that’s approximately 6 inches long. Use a knife to whittle and shape one end into a handle. Leave the other end flat.
Step 2: Split Bamboo Skewer
Take a 8-10 inch bamboo skewer and use a knife to split it lengthwise. Try to get it evenly split down the middle. One half will form the knife’s blade.
Step 3: Attach Blade
Apply wood glue to the flat end of the wooden handle. Take the split bamboo skewer and attach it so that the split side is facing upward. Let the glue fully dry.
Step 4: Seal and Shape Blade
Brush beeswax onto the blade for waterproofing. Carefully use a knife or sandpaper to shape the bamboo into the desired blade shape.
Ideas for Customizing Your Utensils
Making your own compostable utensils allows for lots of creativity. Here are some ideas:
Add unique shapes, like spoon bowls that are square, pointed, or wave-shaped.
Embellish withnatural materials like raffia, hemp, jute, seeds, shells, or beads.
Use colorful plant-based dyes to stain the wood handles in various hues.
Experiment with different materials like bagasse, coconut husks, or recycled paper.
Create utensil sets with different sizes for individual use or serving.
Use natural wood burning to add decorative designs to the handles.
Give utensils as zero-waste gifts for birthdays, holidays, weddings, etc.
Making your own compostable utensils is easy, fun, and eco-friendly. With some simple materials and tools, you can craft creative forks, spoons, knives, and more that will help reduce plastic waste.