every now and then i'm totally excited by a heightening "green" awareness within my community. this long weekend was a perfect example. we traveled all around the bay area for multiple events--slow food 2008 in san francisco (more on this awesome event in a separate post), the oakland art & soul festival, and today a fabulous backyard chile roast at the home of my brother's girlfriend's wonderful parents (does that make sense?). three long days of being outdoors, soaking up sunshine, meeting new people, and seeing the sights. plus a LOT of food. i swear we ate our way through the bay area over the last few days. and what i found so exciting about this (beyond the tastiness of it all) was that i did not have to throw a single plate, cup, napkin or utensil into the garbage. both of the festivals, along with the private backyard cookout, provided 100% biodegradable dishes, cups and cutlery--made from cornstarch & potato. compostable disposables! (has anyone coined that term yet? if not, it's mine!)
each festival had waste bins set up throughout, which were monitored by volunteers. these kind people played the part of educating fest-goers on just where to put their garbage: recycle, compost or trash. it's not often, even as awareness of the detriment of single-use products rises, that one can feel mostly guilt-free about using something for a few moments & tossing it. i mean, yes, energy & other resources are required to manufacture all products (that's where the *ick* of single-use comes in). but knowing that my garbage will turn to nice, rich dirt with the passing of a few months (under the right conditions) feels really, really good. in a perfect world, we'd all bring our own resusable dishes out with us for dining, toting them along in one of our reusable bags. but i think the likelihood of something like that happening is zilch. compostable disposables really are the next best thing.
and something i noticed after using all of this stuff for the last few days? it's good! the "tater"ware feels sturdy, the cups are nearly identical to plastic, and the plates are much thicker than those flimsy paper ones. side note: while those "flimsy paper ones" are technically compostable, they're also treated with chemical binders, bleaches & fillers... not something you want turning up in your soil... or your food. the colorful, patterned plates that look so pretty on a backyard table contain nasty inks and dyes, the manufacturing of which is harmful to our environment on many counts. in general, food-soiled plates are not considered recyclable.
so major, MAJOR kudos to slow food nation, oakland art & soul, and dennis & renee (who will be sending away a heap plates, cups, napkins & cutlery in their green bin). you guys all have my seal of approval! and lucy says thank you too!