Making your own compostable utensils from yard waste is a great way to reduce plastic waste and give new purpose to materials like fallen branches, leaves, and grass clippings. With just a few simple tools and techniques, you can craft sturdy forks, spoons, and knives that will naturally biodegrade when you’re done with them.
Gather Your Materials
The first step is gathering the right materials from your yard. Here are some of the best options:
Fallen Branches and Twigs
- Look for straight, sturdy branches or saplings to use as handles. Opt for hardwoods like oak, maple, or birch rather than softwoods like pine.
- Trim branches to the desired utensil length using pruning shears. Sand handles smooth.
- Use small twigs or trimmed branch pieces for tine shapes.
Leaves and Grass
- Dry leaves and grass clippings can be tightly rolled or layered to create spoon and fork shapes.
- Avoid using wet materials which won’t hold their shape well.
- Bind rolled or layered materials together using pine resin, beeswax, or a flour and water paste.
Twine or Raffia
- Use natural plant fiber twine or raffia to securely attach utensil shapes to handles.
Shape the Utensil Heads
Once you’ve gathered your materials, it’s time to shape the functional parts of the utensils. Here are some techniques:
- To make a spoon shape, tightly roll 3-5 dried leaves from base to tip.
- Bind the roll tightly together near the base using twine. Trim any excess length.
- Use a raffia strip to attach the rolled leaf spoon head to a branch handle.
- For a fork shape, layer and align twigs or small sticks into tine pieces.
- Bind them together near the base and attach to a handle using pine resin or beeswax.
- For a knife shape, firmly compress grass clippings into your desired shape.
- Allow it to dry and harden before attaching to a handle with flour paste.
Secure and Seal Attachments
Once your utensil head and handle components are ready, firmly secure and seal their attachments for durability:
- For spoon and fork tines, wrap tine bases tightly with twine/raffia to bind them to the handle.
- Apply pine resin over the twine and smooth evenly for a natural seal.
- For knives, coat the blade base and handle attachment point with flour paste. Smooth over for sealed adhesion.
- Allow several hours for bonded pieces to fully dry and harden before use.
Maintain and Dispose of Properly
Your finished compostable utensils are ready for eco-friendly use! Here are some tips:
- Avoid putting utensils in the dishwasher or submerging in water, as this can degrade natural glues over time.
- When utensils start to wear, add them to your compost pile or bin. Never litter.
- Crafting new utensils periodically provides fun opportunities to reuse yard materials destined for the compost or brush pile!
With simple techniques and all-natural materials from your own yard, you can feel good about crafting and using utensils that avoid plastic waste. Get creative with shapes and available materials for eco-friendly spoons, forks, and knives the whole family can use!