When Tricia Elisara's eldest son Ethan began attending school, she quickly realized that food --and parties--were going to be a big part of her child's elementary school years. She also noticed that every party usually meant a whole slew of disposable party goods—expensive to parents and costly to the environment.
To cut back on waste, Tricia assembled a prototype "kit" of reusable dishes, cups and silverware that she donated to her son's third grade classroom. And she started thinking about all of the waste that could be eliminated if all of the classrooms in her son's school, or even all schools had these kits for their classroom parties. This was the seed that launched Tricia's green biz -The Green Party Kit - a compact, lightweight set of dishes, cups, forks and spoons that fit neatly in a carrying case that is easy to use, clean, transport and store. The items in the kit are green as well, from a recycled plastic plates from Preserve and a recycled plastic container from Snapware.
Her idea won National Geographic's Green Effect contest last summer as a small, innovative idea for change. And I can see why. It's a simple, effective way to reduce waste in the classroom, and teach kids a little bit about going green in the process. And I do love how all of the items in the Green Party kit are eco-savvy as well.
Of course, you don't have to buy the kit--you could assemble the resuable gear yourself and put it together in a storage tote. For the past few years I've had a kit just like this that I use for backyard BBQ's, picnics, birthday parties, and Girl Scout meetings. In addition to reusable plates, cups, and utensils, mine also includes a reusable tablecloth for covering up nasty picnic tables. But to be honest, I never thought about putting a similar kit together for my daughter's classroom. It's a great idea- provided you can make sure someone will be able to wash the dishes and put them away again after each party.