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[GreenYes] Biodegradable utensils compromised with standard plastics.


Today was my second day sorting discards at an urban street festival in Oakland, CA. It's an admission fee-based, fenced-in, enclosed streets area with all food vendors pledged to use biodegradable cutlery. The recycling manager is pretty sure all the food vendors in the enclosed area are doing the right thing but probably 10%, in some loads as high as 50%, of the eating utensils coming into our sort tables are plain old plastic knives, forks, and spoons. They look enough different that they're easy to pick out from the biodegradable units but the idea of ignoring all utensils in "cleaning-up" pre-compostables is not correct, or so it seems to me. We think people are bringing these utensils with them into the enclosed area. (We're not planning any Homeland Security-type inspections at the ticket gates.) Your experience?
 
On a related matter, recently I worked out an arrangement with a large meals program (250-300 per day) at a St. Vincent dePaul dining room to provide them with used plastic cutlery as I acquire it. (They found the loss factor with metal utensils very high and switched to plastic cutlery several years ago which they wash in their dishwashing system until broken or lost.)
 
Has anyone tried reusing/rewashing PLA-based utensils? Some I've fiddled with take up stains from ambient food sauces but it 's been less than 10%. Handwashing has been easy to do but I haven't tried machine-washing yet. Is there data on user acceptance on stained PLA? Laws prohibiting reuse? Etc?  Reuse is better than composting (they say).
 
Thank you.  
 
ARBoone
 


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