I love to entertain! From the decorating to preparing the food, I just love to do it. Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow as much of this as I'd like, but I plan to have at least one party over the Christmas holiday.
But the issue of trash surrounds every holiday gathering and contributes to the massive amount of waste going into the post holiday landfills! The solution revolves around eliminating disposable dinnerware as much as possible.
"What? No paper plates? No paper napkins? Are you kidding me?"
Here are some practical suggestions:
Have you been in a fabric store lately? There are literally hundreds of different designs in Christmas fabrics that can be transformed into beautiful cocktail napkins with a few simple stitches. Set aside a couple of hours to make a few dozen napkins and you won't have to buy paper Christmas napkins again. Cost efficient and green. Don't you love it?
Who says all the plates have to match? Pick up a variety of Christmas dishes at places like Goodwill or your local dollar store. I was able to purchase 2 complete sets of beautiful Christmas dishes, brand new in box, at Goodwill a couple of years ago for less than $10 each. If one gets dropped and broken at a party, it's no huge loss. Fortunately, that's never happened yet.
Another option is to buy solid colored or clear inexpensive plates that can used during the Christmas holidays as well as throughout the year. Red dishes will work well now and will be perfect for Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations. Green ones will lend themselves nicely to a St. Paddy's Day party. Metal splatterware plates are perfect for outdoor parties, by the way.
Choices here include high quality plastic flatware that can maintain wash after wash and be reused again and again or the purchase of mismatched flatware at thrift stores or discount stores. The initial investment may be a bit more than buying disposable flatware, but you'll appreciate it down the road when the purchases no longer have to be made. Of course, if you have the money, matching flatware sets can be bought as well. Either way, the need for throwaway plastic is eliminated.
Ditto the above suggestions. Buy cheap glasses, wine glasses and mugs. Store them until your next gathering. Or, if you're serving coffee, tea and hot chocolate, host a BYOM party (bring your own mug) and start a tradition!
If you do choose to go with disposable goods for your next party, please skip the Styrofoam at least, as the dangers to our health and environment are countless. If you'd like to learn more about this toxic substance, please visit the following website: http://www.earthresource.org/campaigns/capp/capp-styrofoam.html
So this holiday season, eat, drink and be merry with your family and friends. And if you can, keep it green!