Recycla and her family hosted an Italian-themed dinner for nearly 30 people this past weekend. Now, lest you think that this was a stuffy, adults-only affair, believe Recycla when she tells you that easily half of the people in her house were under the age of 12 and that the evening was actually quite casual and laid-back.
Recycla and her husband host several large parties and assorted medium-sized gatherings every year, including a Cinco de Mayo party for Recycla’s 40th birthday last year, an annual Oktoberfest every fall, cookouts in the summer, and more.
Recycla and her husband have been making a point to cut back on waste at these events, including not buying bottled water and juice boxes for their guests to drink — opting instead for pitchers of water and large bottles of juice.
[In case you're wondering about the other, ahem, beverages, Recycla's husband has a permanent keg fridge down in his Man Cave, so there are no beer cans or bottles to recycle either.]
But where Recycla has fallen down on the job — and by that she means utterly failed as an Eco Warrior — is in the area of disposable dishes, cups, and utensils. Yes, it’s true, Recycla’s guests used disposable plastic cups and utensils and paper plates and napkins. Recycla didn’t even think about it in advance — she just walked into her pantry and pulled out her supplies of paper and plastic disposable stuff.
Recycla’s family of four normally produces only one or two 13-gallon bags of trash each week. However, in just one evening, they filled an additional 1.5 bags of garbage. This was stuff that’s going to get hauled to a landfill and then sit there for a l-o-n-g time. And Recycla is horrified by this.
Recycla and her husband talked about it and decided that, if they are to continue to host large gatherings of people, they need to do a much better job with dishes, cups, and utensils.
As it happens, the family has a large-ish kitchen (the cooking/food prep area is approximately 14′ x 14′) with plenty of storage (lots of cabinets and a walk-in pantry). They decided to start visiting thrift stores to stock up on used dishes, utensils, and glasses. Since the family already has 12 place settings of white Italian pottery, the plan is to find more white dishes, so that things will more or less match.
While Recycla was out running errands yesterday, she realized that she would be driving by the Goodwill store and decided to pop in. Jackpot! Recycla found 8 dinner plates and 12 dessert plates — all for 25 cents each! The dishes are an eclectic mix of fine china, English stoneware, and other assorted white dishes. Recycla also found two wine glasses, which is good because her guests were drinking some fine Italian wines in not-so-fine plastic cups this past weekend.
Recycla is excited about her finds and is looking forward to hitting another thrift shop soon and expanding her new collection of mis-matched dishes and more.
Recycla recognizes that this plan won’t work for everyone. Certainly, in her old house, she would never have had the space to store a few dozen place settings of dishes and glassware. However, she felt it was important to confess her eco sins so that readers of this blog will understand that even the Eco Women make mistakes in their daily attempts to save Planet Earth.
Tell the Eco Women: Do you like to entertain? If so, what is your favorite kind of gathering?
All photos found via Yahoo Images.