People ask us about making parties and events greener. A while back we wrote about how you can choose your location to be green and what sort of invitations are greenest. Another thing to do is use reusable tableware.
“But I don’t have that much reusable stuff! It would cost a fortune!”“All those dishes to wash, isn’t that wasteful?”“But it’s all plastic! Yuck!”
|Bin for guests to deposit reusable plates, cups and silverware
during the party before we load it into the dishwasher.
Having enough reusable cups, silverware and plates is not as hard as it might sound, especially if you’re flexible about whether they match. You could also use cloth napkins, and I’ve done this sometimes, but generally not when I’m serving something greasy like pizza to five-year-olds.
Save Up Silverware!
Save Up Cups!
|Reusable kids-cups from restaurants|
Many restaurants use plastic cups with lids for kids that they just throw away after they clear your table. You are welcome ot take these cups home with you and use them over and over. I can personally attest to the fact that they stand up to years of repeated dishwashing. If they get broken, you can just toss them in the recycle bin without feeling guilty, because you’ve given it a much longer lifespan than it would have had.
Save Up Plates!
Over the years I’ve collected plastic plates here and there as well, usually by finding a few inexpensive ones at the store that catch my eye. I also save the plastic trays from individual microwave meals and my children use those as plates. They make very inexpensive toddler plates and it’s nice that they have sides to help hold the food on the plate for the youngest children.
Clean Up Time!
|Be sure to label where to put dirty dishes and cloth napkins|
|Make sure your bins are in a visible location|
One question we get fairly often is whether it takes more water and energy to wash the dishes than it does to make the disposable ones. My general understanding is that it takes more to make the disposable dishes, but it also depends on the process, brand, and type of disposable dishes. However, there is also energy, water and chemicals associated with taking the trash away, and then disposing of it.
In Green Game Plan For Your Super Bowl Party Jonathan applied all of these ideas, plus cloth napkins, to a Superbowl party. He took cloth napkins to the party he went to and the guests were thrilled! Give it a try for your next party, if your friends aren’t as green as you are, think about setting an example. We are thrilled when we go to parties now that used to be completely disposable and find that our friends are giving it reusing tableware a try. It gives me the warm fuzzies!
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