This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. Being part of the younger generation and the only mother in this group, I was glad that our family celebrated Mother’s Day with a potluck. Potlucks are a wonderful way to gather together casually. The elders can chat about the past and the younger generation can play games. However, there is one aspect of potlucks that bothers me each time – the amount of waste.
Potluck Problems: Convenience Versus Waste
Ever since the first potluck in the past, the need to go shopping for the party was a must. You would throw into your shopping cart dozens of disposable plastic forks, knifes, spoons, straws and a mountain of styrofoam plates! It became a habit for many years.
To be honest, tiny steps were taken to reduce the amount of garbage at each gathering. But this time became very evident that change was happening. First of all, no more disposable styrofoam plates, not even the paper ones. My cousin had brought down their dinner and dessert plates down to the common room. Secondly, stainless steel cutlery were also carried over. Thirdly, drinks were poured into reusable mugs. Hot water was constantly boiled for tea and left to cool instead of buying prepackaged plastic water bottles.
It was a bit surprising for some of the elders as one of the concerns was the fact that someone had to wash the dinner plates if we didn’t have enough plates for the dessert. “How inconvenient,” was the comment. Initially, it seemed like it, but this way, guests would be more diligent in keeping track of their utensils to avoid the need to search for more. On the contrary, guests tend to dispose of each utensil after one or two uses without even thinking about it.
It was a great change for the protection of our environment. I hope to continue this eco-friendly tradition as a good example of the future generations.