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Plastic Utensils -- Big Stash -- What to do?

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Once again, we've managed to accumulate a horrifically large stash of plastic cutlery from takeout, though we always tell restaurants we don't want utensils when we place our orders. We don't use plastic cutlery at parties, even barbecues and picnics, because I can't stand subjecting my guests or myself to flimsy, barely functional cutlery. There's no recycle symbol to be found on the plastic...

Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do with these? Could I drop them off at a restaurant and have them reuse (or really just use) them, or would that violate some health code? (I'm in NYC.) So far, my only plan of action is to try giving them away on Craigslist's "Free Stuff" section, but my hopes are not high given that I've had difficulty giving away even nice-looking (though heavy) furniture.

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  1. Donate them to a soup kitchen???? They can't be put into a dishwasher, but they Can be washed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Gio

      I like your idea. They should be in a sealed plastic sleeve.
      If nothing else, recycle them.

    2. Maybe a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. I don't know about health code. I alway take mine to work, as we always seem to run out. Maybe a kids craft day camp?

      1 Reply
      1. re: corneygirl

        I was going to say give em to the kids! :-) When I was in elementary school (granted, this was a while ago), I used to volunteer with the kindegarten classes and you'd be surprised at the random things they use for arts and crafts. Parents donated all sorts of things all the time: spools, lids, jars, paper plates, etc. Mind you, in Canada, I don't think we are quite as litigous so the teachers didn't have to worry about being sued for giving kids pointy objects (ie; forks and knives). ;-)

      2. Soup kitchen, Salvation army, but my first choice would be a pre school or day care. They could easily wash them and they would be fine. I also used to take my to work all the time. But I don't get take out. Hardly ever. It has been made 6 months since I have, can't stand it personally, but I do use a good quality plastic ware for BBQ's usually because they are around a pool or on the beach and glass or silverware just doesn't work. I also keep a large I bag from the party store that I use for food on the boat. No dish soap out there, so we just take a baggie and throw out what we use.

        1. Do you work somewhere with a break room? You can always leave them there in case someone forgets to bring cutlery or doesn't get them with the takeout.

          1. Any neighborhood kids =going off to college?

            This is a favorite of my daughter. I accumulate them for her. She lives in a dorm apsrtment with a full kitchen. None of tghe roomates like to wash the dishes and flatgware. They can't affotrd to keep buying throwaway.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bagelman01

              sadly the world can't afford to keep buying throwaway.

              i do wish takeout places would stop putting plastic cutlery and too many napkins in with the food unless asked for. It would also save them money.

            2. Wow, I usually have the opposite problem, takeout rarely gives me cutlery unless I ask !!

              I agree with the break-room suggestion, as well as the soup kitchen. I keep a stash of them in my desk because I rarely remember to bring from home for lunches and such.

              1. I take them to the office and put them in the kitchen

                1 Reply
                1. re: Bite Me

                  I plant forks & knives in my vegie garden, sharp ends up.
                  It provides a prickly welcome mat for all the blessed neighborhood cats who wish to do their business there and believe my property is their litter box or lounging grounds.
                  It is humane and nontoxic!

                2. Thank you for your ideas, everyone. I'm taking some of them to a battered women's shelter I work with often and love, though they evidently have a pretty healthy supply, already, too. The rest of it I'm going to use in an art project of my own. :) Thanks to those of you who suggested crafts. I appreciate the inspiration.

                  My breakroom at work is already overflowing with plastic cutlery (is this a NYC problem?). And I called around to a couple of preschool programs in my neighborhood, left messages and didn't receive any replies. I don't have any kids (of the non-furry variety, anyway), so they're all probably worried that I'm some psycho killer who poisons cutlery and gives it to small children to touch / eat with.

                  Smartie, I agree with you 200% I notice that Seamlessweb is trying to get an "ecofriendly" option up and running, but it's takign a while and evidently doesn't have all that much participation. Really, I need to just completely give up on my takeout habit. It's ecologically somewhat disgusting, I know.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    Cimui, I do like your new Paul Klee avatar. I had a copy hanging in my classroom. Donate plastic ware to local schools for teacher's lounges. All the real silverware always seems to lie dirty in the bottom of the sink.

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      The avatar accurately reflects the onset of my senility. :)

                      Will certainly peddle my plastic wares to teacher's lounges next time I have 'em. I don't actually have any connections with schools in my neighborhood (mostly private, I think), but I'll try and foist some cutlery on a few friends who run / work at public charter schools. Thanks!