Friends of ours recently attended a 4 y.o.'s birthday picnic, families included, for a guest list of about 35. My friend - I'll call him Z. - reported that they did the whole party without any disposable plastic wear or paper plates.
This seemed noble, at first, but it transpired that the hosts did not, in fact, own enough reusable anything for all of their guests to eat. So mid-way through the festivities, a few party-goers leapt in and started hand-washing dishes and utensils so that others might eat, and of course, in order to serve the birthday cake.
Apparently, the father felt that he'd already made a big concession by buying paper towels. Z. said that he made much ado over "having to ask which aisle they were kept in."
We don't have a dog, but it wouldn't take a GPS for me to find the Puppy Chow. And I'm sure the family buys toilet paper, which is almost universally stocked mere steps away from the paper towels.
It's one of those Greener-Than-Thou moments. I'm guilty of them myself - sanctimonious, smug episodes where we trumpet our sacrifices to Save the World.
I completely respect the hosts' desire to avoid landfilling paper plates. But it is simply poor planning - and lukewarm hospitality - to expect to serve 35 people on two dozen plates.
As Z. described the family's digs, it was also noteworthy that they lived out in the middle of nowhere, a lengthy commute to, well, anything and everything. Nor was it a small home, despite the fact that just two adults and one child lived there. They might be making some planet-friendly choices, but I'm not buying the Staunch Environmentalist pose.
Anyhow, I've been keeping Z.'s tale in mind myself. I think it's important to make better choices, but I also can't help think that we need to recognize that most of us are imperfect creatures, forced to choose between a host of factors. And sometimes, it's best to simply buy a pack of paper plates and keep mum about how you're saving the planet.
If you want to brag, get a blog. ;)