All small changes can have an impact. I am on a quest to eliminate all single-use plastic from my life. This includes plastic wraps, bags, packaging etc. One area I have found particularly needling to my conscience is the life of take out garbage.
I wish I could stop myself from ordering take-out all together - but I'm far from perfect and sometimes I really want that burger/drink/sweet treat. I avoid contact with styrofoam at all costs - preferring to go without than contribute to that waste stream - but cutlery and straws have required a little more effort. Rather than accept that plastic utensil (sometimes wrapped in MORE plastic to keep it sterile in a take-out bag) with my order, I now say a polite "No Thanks, I have my own." This is my Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set that I bought from a company called To-Go Ware. The utensil holder is made from RPET - a fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, and the utensils themselves are bamboo - an incredible renewable resource. The pack comes with a fork, knife, spoon, and chopstick set. It's great for tossing in my purse before I head out the door.
Another piece of disposable plastic that comes in contact with your mouth are straws. Usually they are also individually wrapped in paper or plastic and are tossed without a second thought. Me? I'm switching to stainless steel! Once again I went to one of my favourite online shops, Life Without Plastic, and placed and order for four stainless steel straws that come with their own cleaner. Unfortunately they were made in China and were incased in plastic packaging - but if they stop my straw garbage for the rest of my life (and my kids too) - I think they're worth it.
Now even though my work colleagues are pretty good at bringing their own utensils for lunch - I did get a bit of teasing about my set. (mostly because it looks like it could attach to your belt or fanny pack) That's o.k. - I feel better stopping my plastic consumption and decided to provide them the opportunity to avoid plastic consumption with me. I easily found extra stainless steel cutlery at my local re-sale shop. So I bought a bunch of forks and spoons and left them in the office for 'that day' when a person forgets their cutlery or we're having a particularly messy treat day. They are there for anyones use - and I'm not constantly promoting or tracking it. I really try not to harass people about environmental choices so as not to turn them 'off' or away. So - although I could continue this post with the sad impact plastic cutlery can have on one's self and the environment - I'd rather let you read that (if you wish to do more research) by clicking on this link to a great and comprehensive article by Andrew Bernier: Living the Life of a Plastic Fork.