June 18, 2010 — Today’s Way: Picnic season is upon us! It’s time to haul out mom’s famous potato salad recipe, and to take pleasure in the flavors of summer with strawberry shortcake, fresh squeezed lemonade and delicious fruit salads. Usually, we pack all of these things up and haul them to the park or the beach or the campground, along with plastic forks, spoons and knives as well as other “disposable” dishes, to be used once and then tossed away and forgotten. The problem with this is, those plastic utensils are going to be sitting in the bowels of some landfill far after memories of that lovely summer meal, and probably even you, are long gone. Another concern is exposure to BPA and other chemicals by eating on or with plastic. The most eco-responsible thing to do is just take your regular utensils with you (or, buying an affordable set from a yard sale or Goodwill store especially for picnics and travel), and take them home and wash them for reuse, but if you’re worried about losing pieces or having to do extra cleaning after the hauling, there is another great alternative. Biodegradable utensils, cups, plates and bowls are made from plant starches and other natural ingredients, and when you’re finished using them, they can either be thrown away and will eventually break down in a landfill, or better yet, some brands are compostable, and completely disappear into organic matter within a matter of months. Most of these plant-based utensils are heat tolerant and microwaveable. Furthermore, there is no worry of chemical exposure to plastics in your food. So, you’ll be able to fully enjoy mom’s potato salad without the guilt of using disposables.