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TRY AND SHARE - COOP reusable cuttlery set

If you make your way through the take-away section of COOP supermarkets or the COOP restaurants, you'll find the option to pick regular, canteen-style cuttlery, or the new set of take-out ones. While the usual "white plastic" coffee or soup spoons are still available, you'll also meet the new "Fork&Knife" set described as "100% natural". Needless to say we had to give it a go.

In the COOP restaurant (we were in the Baar Lattich one) the cuttleries were available for free after the cashier section; in the supermarket you would have to buy them for 0,10 CHF only.

As per the package, the set is 100% wood-based (a mix of coniferous trees and wood-based bio-polypropylene fibres) and made in Finland. As you can see on the pics the colour is fairly accurate for a wood-based product, and you can even figure the mixture out of the design. The set is aslo washable in the dishwasher, and reusable.

From a user perspective, the quality is very good, in term of eating tool but also following a dishwashing program: I did expect the set to melt or react like regular plastic cuttleries - it did not move whatsoever.

The switch of materials is part of COOP's "actions, not words" campaign which lists a long-lasting series of sustainable initiatives that embed sustainability within the brand's operations and actions with and towards customers. Unfortunately the entire list of 390 actions is not available in English - click here if you want to check it out in French, German or Italian.

I think this is a very good initiative, but there has to be a "but" here that I point immediately onto our behaviours as customers.

The set is very good, but looks like a good, old-fashion one-use cuttlery one, the ones that end their time in a regular bin after your lunch break on-the-go is over. Compared to re-usable cuttleries you'll find for instance in zero-waste shops, that often look like the set you'd have at home or to go camping, this one is, to my opinion, too cheap and too-easy-to-trash-looking to be fully accepted as reusable.

Do you really believe that customers will accept to bring home, wash, and reuse (and therefore carry around) the set for the small price of 10 Rappen?

Or will they just absorb instead this minimum cost in their everyday meal break, and therefore discard the cuttleries in the bin like usual one-time-use plastic ones?

I - sadly - believe in the former option.

And as the devil's advocate I will not cast the first stone here: I did it myself.

Not with the COOP set, which will somehow stay in our home a little while until we get tired of not using it; but with spoons that I did not ask for with my Yoojis Sushi take-out. The spoons were marked as washable in the dishwasher and compostable. Yet the ended up in the bin, as we do not need extra spoons at home.

My point is:

Let's remove thy type of cuttleries once and for all.

It's like the concept of removing plastic cups at the coffee machine in the office: if you switch to paper cups instead, you are sliding the problem away and not remove it entirely. People will still drink coffee, so they will still need cup, so they will increase the consumption of paper cups (and please do not think that paper cups are better than plastic cups here, they are not, and cannot be recycled like regular paper), and so on and so forth.

On the other hand, remove all option or one-time-only options, including cuttleries, and force people to buy and come with their own or use washable, reusable items (like mugs or glasses or forks or knives), then you'll hit the nail on the head.

So, what do you think?

Is that a good solution to the overall waste problem?

Leave your comments and suggestions below!!

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