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Use Your Brain, Wash Your Spoon 9


An e-mail forward on plastic cutlery has been floating around for a while – so I thought I would revise it slightly and post it here:

It’s pretty amazing that our society has reached a point where the effort necessary to extract oil from the ground, ship it to a refinery, turn it into plastic, shape it appropriately, truck it to a store, buy it, bring it home, use it, throw it out, ship it to a landfill…


…is considered to be less effort than what it takes to just wash the spoon when you are done with it.

Plastic cutlery and disposable dishes are about as low as our society can get in terms of laziness, thoughtlessness, and complete disregard for future generations.

Use your brain, wash your spoon.

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at

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Photos courtesy of mikko and rustman / Flickr

9 thoughts on “Use Your Brain, Wash Your Spoon

  1. BikeBerryJam Feb 10,2010 2:20 pm

    I was just thinking about this last night before I was going to sleep. I clean my plastic from work and then take it home and throw it in my cutlery drawer. So no one else can use it and throw it out. Maybe I should just take all the cutlery from the kitchen at work and hide it.

  2. James D. Schwartz Feb 10,2010 3:07 pm

    I think that’s a great idea.

    I apply social guilt to my co-workers when I see them drinking from water bottles when we have glasses and a water cooler in our kitchen.

    Same goes for plastic utensils.

  3. Anonymous Feb 20,2010 5:11 pm

    It’s a nice gesture, but that is all that it is. The fact is, it clearly IS cheaper to pump oil, manufacture, ship,etc.. a plastic spoon than it is to wash a spoon. Washing costs my energy and time.
    The spoon costs me nothing, apparently. The supplier of the takeout food clearly doesn’t care if it’s included or not–they don’t charge me extra, and don’t say thank you if i say it’s not necessary.
    Yes,the day will come when we wash our spoons: when oil is $1000 a barrel. Right now oil is too cheap to bother.

    • iffydiffy Nov 8,2015 11:09 pm

      Congratulations. You are the only one with at least one foot grounded in reality. The problem with the poster is that the long laundy list of tasks and work that are listed are all attributed to the production of ONE spoon. But in fact, all those steps end up creating MILLIONS of spoons. Indeed, it probably takes less energy to create a thousand plastic spoons than it does to wash one with your own water, soap, and heat.

  4. Cozy Tiny Apr 3,2010 8:34 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I keep a supply of plastic spoons in my desk drawer for my daily yogurt which I bring from home in a reusable container which I wash every day. I think I’ll begin packing a spoon as well. 🙂

  5. Anonymous Jul 1,2010 3:47 pm

    The only issue is that reuse of plastic utensils can be hazardous to our health. Bacteria that cannot be washed away can get into the crevices of the plastic.

    The best idea is to not use plastic in the first place.

  6. James D. Schwartz Jul 1,2010 7:45 pm

    Anonymous, what I was alluding to in the article is that we should use a real spoon and wash it – instead of using plastic utensils. I wasn’t implying that you should wash your plastic utensils.

  7. 21billybobs Jun 10,2011 4:23 pm

    for a second there I thought it said “brain wash your spoon’

  8. 21billybobs Jun 10,2011 9:23 pm

    for a second there I thought it said “brain wash your spoon’

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