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I was at (Oakland, CA) Rockridge Trader Joe’s today. I have been purchasing less and less from them because most of their products are encased in too much plastic.
I discovered that a worker replaced the coffee stirrers with raw Spaghetti sticks…so brilliant! I want to praise places like TJ’s when they make incremental changes…though they have a long, long way to go.
I will now utilize these compostable stirrers for a variety of beverages in my events and meetings…..now if we could get a brilliant, cheap alternative for straws!!
i think that approach is neither brilliant nor cheap. it takes time to grow, harvest, and ship spaghetti, and if everyone started using them as coffee stirrers you’d be discarding a considerable amount of food that could otherwise be eaten.
if you drink coffee often and are concerned with the impact of coffee stirrers, why not carry a set of stainless steel camping utensils? as an example, REI sells a set of a fork, knife, and spoon for $7.50.
@ Chris: Thanks, and I appreciate your concern, as I am also completely gluten-free. Since the stirrer was only in my coffee for 3 seconds I took note of whether I had any reactions, and I did not. But yes, encouraging stores to purchase gluten-free pasta is important, and will make a great idea more brilliant!
I’m loving this discussion because it shows there are multiple sides to every alternative and that no disposable products are without their environmental impact. I checked BuyGreen, and they do have FSC-certified wooden coffee stirrers (http://shrsl.com/?~3sbv) which would be fine for people with celiac disease but cost a bunch of money. I’m guessing TJ’s is using pasta because it’s cheap. My experience with gluten-free pasta is that it falls apart easily — not sure it would work for stirring coffee. They should certainly offer a gluten-free alternative for those who ask — as long as it’s not made of plastic.
Of course, as Jay suggested, all of us who care should carry a set of reusable utensils with us all the time so we never have to weigh the pros and cons of various types of disposable products. Even something as small as a spork could be used to stir coffee. But when we forget (as is so easy to do — especially in the beginning stages of living plastic-free), it would be awesome if stores stepped up and offered the most eco-friendly alternatives — free of plastics AND allergens.
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