Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Biocompostable Disposable vs. Rentable Reusable

Current wedding planning dilemma. Dishware. I honestly didn't think that I'd be thinking so much about it. We're balancing aesthetics, environmental responsibility and cost. We're weighing two ideas - using disposable, biocompostable dishes or renting dishware that is reused frequently by the caterer and just needs a wash (something like this).

Cost:
Ex. Disposable plate = $.15/each ; rental plate = $.45/each. That doesn't seem like all that much, but when you total it up for dinner plates alone that's $15 vs. $34. Then you tack on salad plates, dessert plates, bowls and it starts to make a difference.

Environmental Responsibility:
I think that the rentals probably win out on this one since they are reused very frequently and have a long life. They are probably some sort of ceramic which at least won't degrade into something harmful. Really we're looking at the use of water to wash them. If we go the disposable route, I do think that this is a great alternative that I won't feel too guilty about.

Aesthetics:
This is really where I'm torn. We're going to rent silverware and not disposable primarily because I just can't get behind it going that casual. We're borrowing wine glasses, but will have to rent drinking glasses and mugs (again I just can't do plastic). These particular plates are actually pretty nice looking. We got a sample pack in the mail yesterday and they are sturdy and have a nice flat finish, but in the end they are disposable.

I think that I'd rather have real dishes, but I really am weighing the costs. We tried a sample place setting at home and they didn't look too terrible. Ron's of the opinion that nobody notices dishes anyhow and that even so they fit with our Harvest picnic theme. He'd rather spend the extra $100 on something else. I'm torn - on the one hand, it's not that much money for an upgrade ; and on the other, we are trying so hard to not go into debt for this that I feel like every bit saved if we aren't compromising what we want is a good thing.

Later I'll try to post a photo of the sample place setting.

3 comments:

Andrea said...

you could do a balance- real dishes for dinner, then disposable for dessert. it would save at least a bit, and by dessert time, people are gonna be having so much fun that i don't think anyone would notice or care about the plates they are using. :) also, you could intentionally pick desserts that don't need silverware (cupcakes, cookies, bars, candies, etc..) so you need to buy/rent less.

miz_g said...

you could also use glassware as a wedding favor. beer steins, sturdy wineglasses with individualized wine charms, mugs that people paint themselves that you get from a thrift store...you can get cool dishware from a restaurant supply store...

ok now I am successfully procrastinating at work. thanks!

pamela prince said...

I like the rental silverware thing and that it's not all that plastic in the trash, because I know that not all of it will make it to recycling.