The Scourge of the Plastic Utensils

This has been on my mind for awhile now. It's become more and more bizarre to me the further I think about it—here in L.A., we've put restrictions on plastic bags and plastic straws (the latter of which seems to have gone right out the window in the covid age, but that's another discussion), yet plastic utensils continue to be wildly strewn about with complete abandon all over the place.

I suppose this issue has grown particularly overt to me of late due to current circumstances; those of you who know me know I ain't much for cooking—in normal times I eat out A LOT, and that has transitioned to ordering a lot of takeout. And I've found that without fail, every restaurant throws plastic utensils into the bag with your order. Every time.

The ONLY exception I've encountered to this rule was with Chili's, which has a check box on its site for you to mark if you want utensils included. (And as pleased as I was to see that, they failed to include dressing with my shrimp caesar salad, so it was kind of a draw.)

Now, I am no hellbent environmentalist by any stretch, but I simply do not like waste. And this seems like an awful lot of completely unnecessary waste to me. Being that we are all beyond aware of the fact that we're supposed to be remaining in our homes EXCEPT for doing things like going to pick up food from restaurants, what exactly is the perceived need said restaurants think we have for plastic utensils? Do they think we are all returning to homes barren of utensils? Do they think we think the plastic fork they give us is somehow less likely to have coronavirus on it than our own forks? Perhaps they think we are all slowly building plastic utensil castles to post on Instagram.

I really don't get it. How hard would it be to just ask whether we need utensils with our order? Seems like a no-brainer. But I know, trust me—I worked in restaurants long enough to learn it firsthand—brains are not the strong suit of that industry.