Single-use utensils? Stick a fork in it

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This is another in a series of recycling tips from the City of Covington's Neighborhood Services Department, Solid Waste & Recycling Division. It was supposed to be distributed on "Wednesday.")
COVINGTON, Ky. – Eating take-out has become a great way to support local businesses and decrease face-to-face interaction amid the pandemic. But while that trend has been great for the local economy, it’s not been particularly friendly to the environment.
One reason?
Single-use plastic utensils.
Distributed with every meal, they can’t be recycled curbside, and in fact, their odd shape can even jam machinery at the recycling facility. (So make sure you toss them in the trash, not in a recycling bin.)
(On a side note, plastic utensils are typically made up of plastic #6 [polystyrene], plastic #1 [PETE], or plastic #5 [polypropylene] – but that number is marked on the box, not individual utensils, so users generally can’t tell for sure.)

Fortunately, you can reduce the waste from single-use plastic utensils. Here are a few strategies:

  • Ask the restaurant upfront not to give you plastic utensils.
  • Purchase a travel utensil kit and keep it with you (purse, vehicle etc.), or carry spare silverware.
  • Wait to eat your carry-out food until you get to a place where there are reusable utensils.
  • Wash your single-use utensils after using them and save for future use.
  • (On another side note, we know families who have hit yard sales to accumulate a whole tub of extra silverware to use at backyard cook-outs, rather than throw away masses of plastic utensils every time.)

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