There are some simple things you can do to keep waste out of your Memorial Holiday weekend. I know, it’s so easy to grab the cheap package of paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silverware, and paper napkins. Resist the urge this year. There are inexpensive and reusable products that are picnic and camping friendly. Pick up some melamine plates and bowls. I know, I rarely recommend plastic, but from the research I’ve done it seems melamine is benign when it’s used for plates and such. It is not the same as the melamine found in poisonings in China and pet food. You can find really cute patterns all over the place. These dishes will last for years. Glasses, I admit, are trickier. I used to love my polycarbonate glasses on the patio. If you really will be in your own backyard, then you can use your regular glassware. But if you’re going elsewhere, that is harder. I’ve seen some very cute stainless steel colored drinkware, like the aluminum stuff from the 60’s. You could also pull out the good ol’ reusable water bottle. You can also find melamine drinkware too. For eating utensils there are some wicked cool new sporks. These new sporks are a vast improvement to the old version. I have also used bamboo travel sets that have chopsticks, spoon, fork and knife (the knife is not terribly functional). You probably don’t want to drag out the good, holiday linen napkins to go camping. It’s time to invest in some inexpensive cloth napkins or make your own. Old sheets, tablecloths, or fabric remnants can be made into napkins, and you’ll have them forever.
If you feel you absolutely have to have some disposable, opt for eco-versions. Look for recycled content or non-petroleum plastics. You can even find compostable plastics. Locally, in Eau Claire, I know Hahn’s Market carries some of these plates and cups. I’m sure some other stores do as well. Let your fingers do the walking to find out. Below is a list of links for resources. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Let’s remember to honor those that have given their lives for our freedom.