You're a long-lived greenie, so when you order takeout, you always tell the person on the phone that no, you don't need those pesky plastic utensils. Every so often, though, your favorite delivery person lets you down, and you get another set of that useless, plastic cutlery. Fret not! There are many ways to reuse plastic utensils, and no -- we aren't including eating.
According to greenliving.nationalgeographic.com, "plastic forks and knives are only good for up to a week, at which point they're too dirty for reuse. In general, plastic utensils and cups aren't designed for repeated use or cleaning; washing with hot water and soap may cause the edges on the utensil to curl up, creating spaces that harbor food particles and encouraging rapid bacterial growth."
Ew, right? Now, let's get to how you can really reuse and re-purpose plastic utensils (and also, a few ideas for those takeout plastic containers, too!).
Garden markers (plastic spoons)
Come spring, mark your garden starts with plastic spoons. You'll never forget where your peas are again!
Bookmark (plastic knives)
Decorate plastic knives and place them in your books. A creative place-holder in a snap! Sure, the plastic knives may not be the most elegant place-markers, but the little guys get the job done.
For arts and crafts (plastic utensils and containers)
If you've little munchkins (aka kids), save some of the plastic utensils to use for random art assignments. Much better than packing the utensils in their lunch (and less toxic).
Bird feed scoop (plastic spoons)
Scoop bird seeds for your feeders. The spoons are perfect sized for placing seed evenly in containers.
Seed starters (made with takeout plastic containers)
Takeout plastic containers make great seed start containers. Containers can be stacked and will allow your little plants to thrive inside prior to their big move outdoors.
Hat holders (plastic containers)
Place plastic containers on your wall and hang your favorite hats! The hats double as arty wall art, and keep shape.
Check to see if the recycling company in your area is equipped to recycle the kind of plastic reusable utensils and takeout containers are made of.
More of a Thai or sushi lover? The HuffPost has listed almost 20 different ways you can reuse and repurpose takeout chopsticks.
So remember, next time you take your lunch on the go to work or ready a makeshift picnic with takeout food, save that plasticware!