Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Choose reusable...or at least compostable!

Summer is a fabulous time to live in the Pacific Northwest. Very few bugs, warm days with low humidity, gorgeous views of mountains and water…And although I realize we’re technically not quite there yet, summer activities are sprouting up on every corner.

There are picnics in the park, outdoor concerts, and family gatherings at the lake. These are all wonderful ways to enjoy Creation! However, we must continue to be mindful of our impact on the earth.

Over Memorial Day weekend I spent a glorious afternoon at Seattle’s Folklife music festival. There were great concerts and cool arts & crafts and…TONS of trash! In one instance I saw a concert end and as people moved to their next venue there was a trash-covered lawn in their wake—a sea of plastic bottles and disposable food containers.

While the main problem in this situation is littering, it occurred to me that even once all that trash was placed in the appropriate containers the problems of overconsumption and reliance on disposability remain.

The good news? Environmentally-friendly alternatives exist!!

It may take a while to get food vendors at local festivals to change to compostable alternatives (although the Mayor’s proposed foam food container ban should help!), but you can certainly make the switch when you plan your own picnic or buy goods for a family get-together.

The BEST way to go would be to use your regular dishware or the reusable containers you already own. But if you’re concerned about breakage or need to serve a large number of folks, look for compostable plates, bowls, cups, and “silver”ware at your local grocery store. PCC and Whole Foods have a variety of earth-friendly options, and I’ve even seen compostable tableware for sale at Staples, an office supply store. The simple, unwaxed paper plates you can find at almost any grocery or convenience store are also compostable—if you live in Seattle you can simply add those items to your yard & food waste collection cart!

As always, bring your own reusable water bottle along on hot days, and encourage your friends and family to do the same!

Enjoy the warm weather—just don’t forget to live lightly on the land.

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