Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 8 and 9 combined - Join Freecycle and no more disposible cutlery

Joining Freecycle was no biggie, although I am resisting the urge to look at what people are trying get rid of, because my goal is to get rid of stuff, not accumulate more stuff. I'll be posting my vacuum cleaner on the site as soon as I get done with this post. As soon as the vacuum cleaner is spoken for, I'm sure the novel aspect of this site will kick in and I'll start scouring my house for other things that can be given away.

This past year I was part of the social committee for the condo that I live in. Each year, the committee plans one or two summer picnics, which take place on the roof of the building, where we have a BBQ and some picnic tables. Fun for all, but not for the environment. Just imagine how much waste is generated at a picnic where 100 or so people are eating on polystyrene plates and using plastic cutlery. Horrifying. As we got ready to plan the second BBQ of the summer, I suggested to the committee that we ask people to bring there own dishes and cutlery. Not only would it save us money by not having to purchase said items, but it would be good for the planet as well. And really, how much of a stretch could it be - these people all live in the building. Would it kill them to bring there own dishes and silverware up to the roof for some free food? Apparently, yes. While most of the committee members thought it was a great idea, they agreed that people would feel put out if we didn't provide, and those people who forgot to bring their supplies up with them would be peeved at having to go back to their units for them, when they saw that we were not providing plates and utensils, and that overall, it would dampen the spirit of community that we were hoping to provide.

What a load of bull crap.

I'm not on the social committee anymore, for that and other reasons. Carrying my own fork, spoon and knife is not that big of a deal. I'm rarely in situations where I'm eating from plastic cutlery anyway, so this challenge shouldn't be that hard. Having to carry my own eating utensils reminds me of when I was in the SCA. I would often go to events and feasts where no such utensils were provided, and you were expected to bring your own (if you wanted to break from the character you were inhabiting) or be ok with eating with your hands, which is more authentic, given that you are playing the part of a pre-17th century person most likely from a European land. I was quite the fancy-poo character and carried my ornate silverware wrapped in a fine napkin, which I stored in a pouch strapped to my waist over my garb. Yes, those were interesting times.


Toria said...

If you ever get involved again, you could suggest they buy those biodegradable plates & cutlery. I think they're made of cornstarch or something like that. I've never used them, but have seen them for sale in some eco-stores.

I've enjoyed reading your first week :-)

Sandy said...

I was surprised to find out that the Freecyclers in my area LOVE to have my empty wine bottles for home brewing. So save 'em up and recycle the personal way! Freecycle ROCKS.

Anonymous said...

Came over from Crunchy Chicken. Good luck on your endeavor. I look forward to reading all about it!
About those folks who can't carry a few pieces of silverware up the steps... sheesh.

Callina said...

Also found you via Crunchy Chicken--I'm picking up my copy of Vanessa's book from the library today. I didn't follow her blog while she was "changing" so it'll be fun to follow yours!

Q said...

I think your idea of people bringing their own plates and cutlery is great. It sucks that the committee didn't go ahead with it. Are you still going to bring your own? I would. And my own glass. Just to show everyone just how easy it is.

Good luck in your endeavors, I'll be reading.

Green Bean said...

Also came over from Crunchy's. We use Freecycle for EVERYTHING. It's amazing what people will take. Even things that are broken as many people give it a shot on fixing them. Look forward to following your changes. Good luck!

Michelle (a fellow Canadian) said...

Also found you through Crunchy Chicken!

Fifteen years ago I was on the PTA at my daughters' elementary school. Every year the PTA hosts a "Teacher Appreciation Luncheon" where the members of the PTA bring food to serve to the teachers at lunch time.
Before I became involved the committee always used paper plates, paper napkins, plastic cutlery and drink cups. I checked the cupboards of the staffroom and discovered a huge set of dishes and cutlery and suggested to the committee that we use those instead.
As you experienced, at first my suggestion was shot down... who would wash the dishes afterwards? I stepped up to the plate and offered to wash and dry and put away every single item used. Then someone said "But what about the paper napkins... we like to provide pretty ones and cloth ones aren't pretty!" I offered to bring enough "pretty"cloth napkins for everyone and they finally agreed.
On the day of the luncheon the teachers were thrilled to be served on "real china" and use cloth napkins. And not surprisingly, most of the PTA helped me wash and dry and put away the dishes!

Anonymous said...

Found you via Crunchy Chicken.

I'm planning my soon-to-be one-year-old's birthday party right now. For the first time I'm not going to use disposable ANYTHING. I'm interested to see how everyone reacts.

Although this is my party, so I'm 100% sure that I care what they think. ;)

Chile said...

It's frustrating when event planners take the easy (disposable) way out instead of asking people to take a little personal responsibility. 'Course people are so used to having the disposable option, they see bringing their own as a huge inconvenience. (Get real, folks - try not having food at all... Oops, sorry, it's so easy to climb on the soap box.)

Kim from Milwaukee said...

Don't give up trying to get the 'real plates and cutlery' trend going. I did it here at my work, got real plates at the dollar store as well as cloth napkins, and everyone says it feels like eating at home. We have a dishwasher at work, which makes cleanup easy, and it really opened the eyes of my coworkers as to how much we really throw away when it's unnecessary.

Great start to your new blog! Looking forward to your posts!

Kim from Milwaukee said...

Oh, by the way, you mentioned being in the SCA, and you gave me a great idea to bring my own cup, bowl and cutlery to the Renaissance Faire this year. I'm upping the green factor thanks to you, Barbara!