Picnic with Reusable or Compostable Plates and Forks
If you are going to have a BBQ or a picnic, the best thing is to use reusable plates, forks, and spoons. You can buy lightweight plates at a camping store, like REI, that are made of metal and cost $6/plate. But they will last forever. It feels nicer to eat on a real plate as well. Take them on the picnic/BBQ, and then take them home and wash them in your dishwasher. Do the same for forks, spoons, and knives. With this strategy, you use less resources to produce all the disposable plates.
If you need the convenience of disposable plates and cutlery, then buy compostable plates and forks. Never buy styrofoam, as it can’t be recycled and doesn’t decompose. The plates/cutlery package will say if it is compostable. Typically, these are made out of paper and the forks are made out of bio-based plastics or wood. Compostable is better than recyclable because the food soils the plates and forks and then you can’t recycle it anyways. You will need access to a commercial composter to compost bio-plastic forks. If your city trash company picks up composting, they should be able to compost these items.