Does it seem just a little bit contradictory to suggest that you can reduce waste by choosing to use disposables?
Most of the conversation so far this month on the topic of reducing waste has centered around choosing products that can be used over and over (Cutting Down on Waste in the Kitchen, Homemade Cloth Diaper Pattern and Reducing Waste by Choosing Cloth Diapers).
There are times, though, when the convenience of a disposable is ideal. On trips or at celebrations like birthdays or other large parties. For those wanting to choose products that are simple, sustainable and that play a role in stewarding the earth well, it's important to know that there are other options out there.
Disposable convenience that won't sit in a landfill.
Last summer, we attended the wedding of a Christian couple, who are very conscious of the consumer choices that they make. To serve their guests at the dinner reception, they opted for unbleached, sustainably produced and compostable plates, napkins and cutlery. It was so fitting and beautiful to me that their desire to honor the Lord in all their choices came through even in the way that they served their wedding dinner.
I regretted that I didn't find out the name of the products that they used, and so I was thrilled when I was asked to review a local company, Saakori, that is doing the same thing!
These plates are made of fallen palm leaves. They are simply pressed into shape in a heated press, without the use of any chemicals. When you're finished with them, they can be put in the compost pile.
And the end result? Earth-friendly, sustainable, yet disposable plates and bowls that are so gorgeous and unique looking I hated to have to discard of mine after using them!
Though I usually use my regular plates and mugs, I used Saakori plates to serve the members of the church caregroup that we host in our home. Everyone agreed that it was such a great idea and they commented on how sturdy the plates were as well.
I already enjoy using mesh produce bags from my Moukisac, but thought that these bags were wonderful as well. They have a slightly larger and softer style mesh than my other ones, and I'm not sure that I have a preference between the two.
I've noticed that when I use either mesh bag, my produce seems to stay fresher for longer, and I just love getting through the cash register without a wad of plastic bags!
Disposables for me?
On the whole, I prefer to buy and use only products that can be reused. I know that most of you feel the same way.
There are, in my opinion, the odd times where a sustainable disposable option just might be a good fit. I often cringe when I go to church gatherings or other places where disposable dishes and cups are used, including styrofoam, the worst offender of all. Yet I understand the practicality of why disposables are the preferred options for these events.
The cost is higher, naturally. Products like these aren't mass produced in the same way as the paper and styrofoam plates that you find in the grocery store. They can be purchased in bulk or wholesale by special order, which definitely helps to make them more affordable.
It would thrill me to no end to see churches, businesses and other organizations begin to use more sustainable products like these, and what a difference it could make to the amount of chemicals used and trash put out for each picnic, party or gathering held.
Am I dreaming? Maybe. But we each play a part by the choices that we make as consumers and the products that we support.