Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Party planning meets environmental guilt

As if Catholic guilt wasn't enough. Now I'm coping with environmental guilt.

Lately I've been more cognizant of the world's impact by my purchasing power. I am reluctant to buy rice when there are food riots elsewhere and the earthquake victims in China have less than a month's supply of rice, their primary staple, for example. I feel the pull to buy local when I can and support the little guy.

Now, my guilt is greater. We're planning a celebration this weekend, and family will be coming into town from miles away. In all, we'll be hosting about 20 others at some point during Memorial Day weekend.

I don't have dishes to support that. And I stare at the aisles, wondering what is the worst damage: plastic, foam or paper that may not hold up? I'm loading up on plastic disposable cups, and my trash can will be loaded with paper napkins. Because I don't have non-dispoable resources to support them all. Granted, I've heard about things like spudware (yes, made out of some part of the potato!), but my budget and time constraints can't support that hunt.

My meals are somewhat easier to plan. Rather than do things like take-out or eat out, I am hoping for simpler meals that my guests may or may not appreciate: build-your-own taco bars, pasta bars, and cooking burgers out on the grill. I am hesitant to buy the veggie trays because of all the plastic, and the waste that accompanies it. A cake will be homemade, mostly because I enjoy those more, and partly because I don't want to be wasteful.

How do others manage to plan for celebrations while being cognizant of the junk that accompanies them?


Alexandra said...

Depending on how many extra plates I needed, I would think about picking up some odd old china from the thrift store. If you don't have the space to store it, you can always donate it back. It would probably be more expensive than disposable plates (depending on the thrift store) but nothing new would be created or thrown away.

Going Green Mama said...

Alexandra, that's an interesting idea - hitting up the thrift stores. I'd thought about that for some of the more unusual dishes you might need (extra serving trays, etc.) but not for just standard plates. Great idea!