Party Plates With a Conscience
Ever think about how much waste we create over food and drink every time we organize a summer cookout, picnic or other outdoor gathering?
I hate to be an environmental downer, but it's time we get hip to all the debris we leave behind after our fun-loving feasts.
Two companies have taken on the challenge, offering a new take on disposable plates and cutlery that work in tandem with the environment rather landfills.
Bamboo is the medium for the dinner plates and table utensils manufactured by Bambu Home, a small Shanghai-based company owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Jeff Delkin and Rachel Speth.
Using certified organic bamboo, Bambu Home has created a vast line of housewares, including its Veneerware collection of single-use plates and forks, knives and spoons.
Single use -- what's so eco-fabulous about that?
Get this - they're biodegradable. That's right, throw'em in the trash, and within four months or so, while they're stewing at the dump, they'll actually decompose rather than take up more space on the mountain.
Although extremely lightweight, the plates are surprisingly sturdy and did a bang-up job holding up our dinner over Memorial Day weekend. I found a six-pack of dinner plates ($6.95) at the Crate & Barrel outlet in Old Town Alexandria and made a call to its Clarendon store to get confirmation of availability there as well ($9.95).
I also put in a call to Future Green, the new super cool eco "home and family center" (1469 Church Street NW) and learned that it will have both plates and utensils in stock in about a week.
Bambu Home's Web site also suggests checking Sur La Table locations, Smith & Hawken, as well as shopping online at cooking.com.
I know, the price may seem steep - 7 to 10 bucks for a pack of party plates -and much more for the four 3-piece settings ($24.95). But if you're the kind of party host who likes to spend with a conscience, you may want to give these stylish beauties a whirl. Belkin tells me that the company has committed to donating one percent of their sales to 1 % for the Planet, an alliance of eco-minded organizations.
A more affordable option (although not biodegradable) is the line of plates and cutlery from Recycline. Available in frisky shades of "lilac purple," "tulip red" and "pear green," these plates and utensils are not only made from 100 percent recycled plastic but are reusable (and dishwasher safe). I love this!
"In the world of disposable items, there's a lot of plastic that gets used for two minutes for that burger and then goes into the trash," says Ben Anderson, who oversees Recycline's new product development. He says people are surprised by how sturdy and thick the plates are, not to mention the added bonus of throwing them into the dishwasher.
Check them out at Whole Foods locations (about $6.99 for an eight-pack of plates; $5 for cutlery for 8) and online at amazon.com or drugstore.com.
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