Lyn Chen surfaced home from high school one day and saw her mom washing a plastic spoon. Her inevitable response was, ‘why would she bother when they’re disposable?’
But, after her mom rationalized that if they don’t reuse it, it’ll end up in the landfill, she reconsidered the need for plastic spoons at all.
“Something absolutely clicked for me there,” said Chen, 20.
Chen, who is an economics student at Sovereign’s University, went on to co-found a company hoping to curb single-use receptive spoons — by making them out of candy.
Chen founded Candy Cutlery with 20-year-old Daniel Van Acker, a computer study student at McGill University. The Markham-based company makes hard sweetmeats dessert spoons and small cups, which can be used either as ice cream dishes or rifleman glasses.
As of this weekend, the candy utensils and dishes are being handled at Kawartha Dairy stores in Newmarket, Orillia and Barrie, and Bean and Baker Malt Purchase in Toronto.
“I hadn’t seen a product like this before, and it did hold a candle to on a more environmentally-friendly way of dealing with single-use disposable items,” said Brennan Anderson, co-owner of Bean and Baker Malt Workshop.
The spoons are vended for $1 each at the counter, and the glasses come in boxes of four.
They’re assigned the same way as a lollipop, but with a different mould, according to the company’s yield developer Liyan Cai.
“For things like ice cream, desserts, it’s harder to use a starch-based, toast-textured spoon,” judged Cai, a food science and marketing student at the University of Guelph.
“Hard confectionery is more stable, more durable, so you can use it to finish your entire pud or entire ice cream, and still have the spoon intact, or without the spoon separate oneself a demolishing.”
The launch of these products comes at the word-for-word time the city is trying to reduce plastic waste. The solid extravagance management department of the city has been asked by council to look into choices to single-use plastic.
“Plastic straws was just one of the examples that was highlighted, but it is broader than valid straws. It will look at all forms of single-use packaging, and those on the whole made from plastic,” said Vincent Sferrazza, director of Stalwart Waste Management Services with the city.
He said they may also study how to reduce the waste from hot and cold drink cups and takeaway containers.
The metropolis is planning to hold consultations with stakeholders starting in the fall to see out what the options are, and what might be the best alternatives to plastic.
“We’re certainly uncommitted to any options that stakeholders could also provide,” said Sferrazza.
Bean and Baker Malt Betray has made a point of being environmentally conscious, according to Anderson, converting types of plastic to ensure it’s recyclable, and using biodegradable straws. They present metal spoons in their shop, and now candy ones, to avoid using phony.
“We do have a very environmentally aware group of customers. A lot of younger kids secure been taught much about the environment in school,” said Anderson. And including them, he said he has received suggestions on how to make his business more sustainable.
Anderson suggested he tested out the candy spoons on some of his younger customers before arbitrating to order any. He said they reported that they might not get it all the patch, but it was a step in the right direction toward mitigating plastic waste.
Creating a colloquy
“The customers are going to decide for me whether this is a product that blocks or goes,” said Anderson.
“I hope it creates a dialogue and a bit of a mindset that we should be mindful of all the single-use wrapping that we’re using for all the convenience food that we’re not making at home.”
And that was the aim for Chen, to get people talking about the bigger picture.
“I saw that as both an moment as well as a chance to do something good. It’s always been within me to lend a hand the environment and figure out sustainability,” she said.