My kids are in elementary school and every time there is en event, which is almost every month, there is a party. Party that requires: individual water bottles, disposable plates, napkins, cups, spoons... What a waste! Of course my kids bring their water bottle and reusable tableware but still every time it breaks my heart to see that.
Field trips lunches are also a shame since they require a full disposable lunch: no lunch box, no water bottle, everything trash-able.
What could I do to change that? I tried talking to other parents and they just look at me as if I were coming from another planet.
You can also try to talk to the teachers about the topic...the move towards "Zero Waste" (using reusables, composting food waste, etc.) provides plenty of teachable moments. At our public school, they have started green teams led by the 4th graders (e.g., monitor the lunch waste), reusable lunch containers are the norm for all events, and at one of our 5th graders events, they had a Zero Waste contest during the meal with another school. So maybe you can convince one sympathetic teacher to start with some basics - even as a way to try to keep up with what other schools are doing...good luck!
Thank you for the great ideas. I'll get to work!
I feel your school is so much advanced. I am in the bay area too.
My son, 4th grade, is part of the student council and he is going to try to do something about food waste during lunch. Since last year, there is a green waste cart - finally! - but kids don't bother, most dump everything into the regular trash and run for their lives to recess :-(
My daughter's elem. school is slowly coming around. We used to have to send all trashable lunches on school field trips, but now the kids just have to be responsible for their own lunch items if it is not going in the trash. Classroom parties used to have all disposable partyware (full lot) and now just a paper napkin. Kids can use their own reusable bottle or walk to the water fountain for water. Is it perfect? No. Is it a step in the right direction? ABSOLUTELY!
As a side note, having recess BEFORE the eating part of lunch is just amazingly magical for soooo many issues.
I just signed up to bring paper products to my first-grader's Halloween party this year, but I am planning to use real, non-disposable plates and utensils instead. I should have enough on hand. I am trying to come up with an idea to replace paper napkins, too. Any thoughts? There are about 19 students in his class. Wouldn't it be great if, instead of requiring families to bring paper plates every year, each classroom had a stock of reusable plates and cloth napkins or hand towels? How beautiful would that be?
I bought 24 each plain Correlle white cake size and dinner size plates (they were new, but no packaging beside the price sticker and made in US) for a party and my friend now plans to borrow and add to the stash so we will all always have access to an alternative to disposable for a small crowd. Perhaps you could find someone to go in with you on this investment to pass around as needed (like for your sons Halloween party?). A big stash of mismatched thrift plates are a clever way to do it too.
We have on hand a fabric cutting wheel which slices through t-shirts like a hot knife through butter. So, my suggestion would be to acquire whatever you can that will give you cloths cut to an 8 x 8" square (could be children's t shirts, onesies, adult t's, even sheets made of knitted fabric found at Thriftstore would work nicely). Can serge or hem if you like, would use thriftstore thread as that is very expensive at the fabric store these days. But if you do go that route, perhaps buy your napkin fabric off the bolt!
Alternatively, bring a basket of cheap washcloths (10 for $4 at Walmart, but they are white so serious cleaning will be required to keep pristine for future reuse). And remember to retrieve them AND return to teacher to store for next event.
In our team events when scheduling the potluck, we include a sign up to run dirty dishes through the home dishwasher so our supply is ready (why schools don't generally have dish washers in their kitchens is beyond me...). Can easily add the napkin laundry as a chore on the sign up sheet.
And, the sign sheet has been replaced by an online sign tool. So, event organizers can more efficiently cover all the bases...
NATALY I WILL LIKE TO CONGRATULATE YOU FOR HAVING THIS ADVANCED MIND AND FOR TEACHING THESE GREAT VALUES TO YOUR CHILDREN THAT SOON OR LATER THEY WILL TEACH THE SAME. AND OTHER PARENTS WILL DEFINITELY FOLLOW YOU WHEN THEY FIND OUT THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS A TRUTH.