Disposable … not really.

Do something for your soul ………… Design Mysteries

Recently I was given a plastic spoon/fork by my daughter Bekah. And began to wonder why we use so many plastic utensils. Is it cleanliness? Is it cost? Is it convenience? Why do we persist in using disposable knives, forks, spoons, plates and cups? We just ate at IKEA, what a treat, oh not the food. The reusable porcelain plates, stainless steel utensils and glasses are the treat and a lesson for my kids… that fast food doesn’t have to be an ecological crisis, that it’s possible to eat “fast food” slowly and then “clean up” after yourself. Panera Bread does the same thing, puts food in real bowls and on real plates and provides real utensils. My personal favorite at Panera is “The Bread Soup Bowl.” You consume the soup and the bowl there is no waste! Brilliant! Is this a trend? Will McDonalds & Burger King follow suite? Will we once and for all enter an age of sanity when it comes to fast food service?.

I tried for years to get Pratt Institute to use “real” tableware and was always rebuffed by these answers to my questions ”students steal it” and “we don’t have a dishwasher.” Pretty lame excuses if you ask me. I’m sure buying and disposing or “recycling” plastic tableware far out weighs the cost of a dishwasher or even theft. So designers maybe it’s about time to start designing some amazing tableware for Mickey D’s, The King, Wendy’s, Kentucky Fried, and give them a “real” reason to “make it our way.”


Reusable Ultra Plastic Fork & Spoon by Foldiflat.

Is it us, the consumer, who accepts the “disposable society” or “the Bluesuits” who make the economic decisions who are to blame for this fast food mess we are in? Maybe it’s a little of both. Maybe we, The consumer/designer needs to show that design can help change people’s perception of “dining” and start to create some alternative solutions to the “fast-food” mess.

Designers should be doing what I call R.O.S. “Return on Soul” rather than R.O.I return on investment. Maybe, just maybe R.O. S. is better that R. O. I.


Panera Bread soup bowl “real” | IKEA Christmas Dinner on Dinnerware.

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Design Mysteries Series
Bruce Hannah 2017©