Have you ever wondered what sort of example is being set at Children's birthday parties? The very nature of the occasion means that disposable party supplies are perfectly suited to the occasion, predominantly for easing the cleaning up phase afterwards. If you think of the amount of waste that these events make, it can actually be quite significant! Examples of this include waste paper from paper coffee cups, paper plates, cup sleeves and napkins and plastic waste from plastic glasses / cutlery.
There is currently an emerging market for environmentally friendly paper party supplies, due in part to the ever increasing public emphasis on sustainable energy and environmental conservation. As a result there is now a whole range of eco friendly materials suitable for such occasions.
Disposable plates would be the first example. The problem with paper plates is that they contain a plastic coating (PE), this is required to prevent the plate absorbing water / moisture and going flaccid. Regrettably the side effect of this is that the item cannot be easily recycled, when broken down the raw materials would be contaminated. There are a couple of solutions though. The first would be to use Bagasse fibre paper plates. Bagasse is the fiber left over after the juice has been extracted from sugarcane stalks. As biomass, it holds promise as a fuel source since it can produce more than enough heat energy to supply the needs of a common sugar mill. This material needs no PE or wax plastic coating, so is both composable and biodegradable. Another possible solution would be to use traditional PE or wax plastic coated paper plates, but ensure that the waste goes to a suitably equipped waste treatment facility.
The situation with paper coffee cups is similar, these contain the same PE inner lining in order for the cup to hold water. Again, the solution with these sort of supplies is to simply recycle and sort the items in an ethical manner. A scheme called “save-a-cup" exists to help people do this.
Plastics such as knives, forks, spoons, plates and cups can be easily recycled. The only prerequisite is that the cups are sorted into the correct section of your local waste disposal centre / facility. This simple action means that the cups do not have to end up in the trash, where they would take hundreds of years to biodegrade under normal circumstances.
Uncoated items such as disposable paper tablecloths are a bit easier to dispose of in a green and ethical fashion. Most local councils now use paper collection bins for domestic residences; this means that the waste materials are recycled with very little additional hassle.
In summary, it is perfectly feasible to have environmentally friendly Christmas Party Supplies or childrens party supplies, it just takes a little forethought prior to the party and subsequent cleanup stage. You can also rest safe in the knowledge that you are passing on sound eco-friendly habits to future generations.
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