When Democrats retook the U.S. House of Representatives, they set out to “green” the Capitol. One measure was the introduction of compostable eating utensils in the House cafeteria. The corn-based cutlery may work for some things, but it was not popular on Capitol Hill. As the Washington Post reports, the new utensils were more expensive, broke easily, and “warped when exposed to hot soup.” Worse, the adoption of greener foodware didn’t produce the promised environmental benefits. Much of the energy savings from switching to a corn-based product was offset by the need to haul the compostables away.
Did this kill green cutlery? Not until the GOP was back in charge: “Democratic leaders didn’t kill the program. Instead, they waited until Republicans took over, then suggested they do it. Republicans quickly obliged.” And so, the House cafeteria has returned to plastic forks, knives and spoons. In other words, Congress has eliminated a corn-based product mandate in favor of petroleum. If only they could do this with ethanol too.