How to Make Your Own Compostable Utensils From Household Scraps

How to Make Your Own Compostable Utensils From Household Scraps

How to Make Your Own Compostable Utensils From Household Scraps

Making your own compostable utensils at home is a great way to reduce plastic waste and be more environmentally friendly. With just a few simple household items, you can easily create reusable forks, spoons, knives, and more.

Gather Your Materials

To get started, you’ll need:

  • Wooden skewers or chopsticks – These will form the handles and base of your utensils. Look for untreated, natural wood options.

  • Cotton string or twine – This will help bind the components together. Use unwaxed, natural fiber string.

  • Scissors or a knife – For cutting the skewers and string to size.

  • A drill (optional) – For pre-drilling holes in the skewers to thread string through.

  • Beeswax or vegetable oil – For conditioning and waterproofing the wood.

  • Cornstarch – To coat the utensils to prevent sticking.

Craft the Utensil Shapes

Use the skewers/chopsticks to create the general shape of the utensil you want to make:

  • Fork – Tie 2-3 skewers together at one end to create the tines. Leave a longer skewer for the handle.

  • Spoon – Shape 1 skewer into a spoon or scoop shape by heating it over a flame and bending it. Leave a straight portion for the handle.

  • Knife – Tie 2 skewers side by side to create a knife blade shape. Leave extra length for the handle.

  • Chopsticks – Use 2 matching skewers and trim to size.

Make sure to leave 3-4 inches excess on the handles. Tie the pieces tightly together with cotton string. Drilling holes in the skewers first will make this easier.

Seal and Strengthen the Utensils

To help waterproof and strengthen your utensils:

  • Coat the wood in beeswax by melting a lump of beeswax and brushing it on.

  • Alternatively, wipe the utensils with a small amount of vegetable oil.

  • Allow the wax or oil to fully soak in and dry.

  • Make a second string wrapping around the joint where the tines/blade meets the handle for extra strength.

Add a Starch Coating

For a smooth, non-stick finish:

  • Make a thin paste with cornstarch and water. Apply it evenly to the utensils.

  • Allow to dry fully. The cornstarch will create a protective coating that prevents food from sticking.

  • Reapply the cornstarch paste after each washing to maintain the non-stick effect.

And that’s it! You now have a set of reusable, compostable utensils made from household items. Maintain them by washing carefully by hand and reapplying the cornstarch as needed. Enjoy using your handcrafted, eco-friendly cutlery!

Troubleshooting Tips

Having issues with your homemade compostable utensils? Here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Utensils falling apart? Tie the pieces together more tightly and/or use additional string wrappings. Apply more beeswax or oil to reinforce.

  • Wood drying out? Apply another round of beeswax or oil to condition the wood. Store utensils in a sealed bag or container.

  • Food sticking? Ensure the cornstarch coating is thick and reapply after each washing. Try a smoother paste blend.

  • Cornstarch coating wearing off? Mix the paste thicker and allow extra time to dry fully before using. Apply 2-3 coats.

  • Woodwarping? Avoid exposing utensils to high heat or prolonged water contact. Oil periodically.

Don’t give up if your first attempts need tweaking! It may take some experimenting to get the design, sealants, and coatings just right. Adjusting the methods can help craft utensils that are optimally functional and long-lasting. With practice, you’ll be a homemade compostable utensil pro in no time.

Ideas for Handling Waste and Composting Utensils

Once worn out, be sure to properly compost your homemade utensils:

  • Chop/break up utensils to help them decompose faster. Remove any string or waxy bits first.

  • Compost in a specialized digester, if possible. Homemade utensils may take longer to break down than certified compostable plastic.

  • Bury pieces directly in the soil or backyard compost pile. Mark the spot to find pieces later.

  • Drop-off at community composting centers, if available in your area. Check guidelines first.

  • Burn in a safe outdoor fire to dispose. Do not burn treated wood or with string/wax attached.

To reduce waste, prolong your utensils’ lifespan by:

  • Handwashing carefully instead of dishwashing, to avoid damage.

  • Letting air dry instead of towel drying, to prevent excessive wear.

  • Storing in a sealed bag or container, to prevent warpage.

  • Conditioning regularly with oil or wax coats to maintain integrity.

With some care and maintenance, your homemade compostable utensils can stay functional for many uses before needing to be composted!