When we brought our little peanut home from the hospital, we were struck with the irony of caring for a newborn. In our case, we had a baby who slept the vast majority of the day, and yet, we never had the time to get ANYTHING done. Making meals became a major hassle, and cleaning up afterwards could literally take a few days to accomplish, by which point we had cooked another meal, and so the vicious cycle of having a seriously gross kitchen never ended.
One solution we found was to use disposable dishware. By eliminating the majority of our dirty dishes, we were able to keep our kitchen from getting out of control, and that really did feel like an accomplishment. I would recommend that anyone who is trying to adjust to life with a baby seriously consider getting some disposable products! These products also come in handy for when you have company over for a few days.
I really do feel as though having some disposable dishware is something that parents need, at least at the beginning of their journey and for when they have visitors. However, there is something to be said for the environmental impact of such a decision. I will fully admit that when we used disposables a few months ago, they were paper. We would never buy Styrofoam plates, but paper products still take a while to decompose, and they are made from a resources that takes decades to replace. I didn’t know what other option I had, though.
And then I found Conserve® brand, put out by an amazing company called Baumgarten‘s. Baumgarten‘s is a company that takes environmental stewardship very seriously. Their Conserve line has cleaning products, disposable dishware and cutlery, emergency flashlights, and Plastibands (environmentally friendly rubber bands). I had the opportunity to use several items from the disposable & compostable dishware and cutlery line during the week of Thanksgiving, when my household of 3 turned into a household of 7! I knew dishes were going to be a nightmare, so I went to my handy disposables. This time, however, I had products to use that were completely guilt free!
Conserve dishware and cutlery are made from sugar cane fiber and corn starch respectively. These are resources that can be reproduced on an annual basis, which makes them extremely renewable. Furthermore, the material is 100% biodegradable and also compostable! These products can be completely broken down in a compost pile in about 6 weeks, which is just amazing. Check out where these products fall on the Environmental Friendliness Meter!
When my extended family started using these products during their visit, we asked them to rip up their plates and cups after use so that we could put them in the compost bin. This inspired some really great conversations with them about why we compost, and even about why we recycle (because my extended family doesn’t do either of these things). By the end of the visit my father was asking if my husband would build a compost bin for him the next time we go to their home! I could also see the act of tearing up plates and cups to be a lot of fun for children, and a great way to initiate a conversation with them about protecting the earth.
You may be wondering how sugar cane and corn starch products held up once they were holding food. Just great! I didn’t see any difference in quality between the Conserve disposable products and the heftier paper disposable plates, cups and bowls on the market. From the Conserve website, “The Conserve® Brand Promise is that our products will perform better AND be will be significantly better for the environment than other products offered on the market. We believe that sustainability should not come at the cost of performance.” My one suggestion for them is to make a larger bowl option. We ate chili one night, and I wanted a BIG bowl of chili, but had to settle for making a few trips back to the kitchen for more!
Overall, I thought these products were simply amazing. I can’t tell you how fun it is to throw your “plastic” cutlery into the compost bin, knowing that it will be gone in 6 weeks! We don’t use disposable products all the time anymore, but we do still need them when we have visitors, or on those days when we are just too lazy to deal with dishes. It’s great to know that these moments do not need to come at the cost of the environment.
Conserve brand dishware products are available for purchase through the Baumgarten‘s site. The cutlery can be found for purchase here. The prices may seem a bit high, at first, but just think of the long term cost of continuing to use non-renewable resources, or resources that don’t renew quickly, on products that get used for half an hour, at best. If you work outside of your home, consider passing along this information to your purchasing department, and help your place of business go green, too!
Baumgarten‘s wants to help you take the step you need to go green in your home by offering two lucky Stuff Parents Need readers their Tableware Party Pack, including 50 compartment plates, 85 salad plates, 50 8oz cups, 100 forks and 100 spoons. That’s over an $80 value, each! Woo hoo for eco-friendly disposable dishware! The contest will run until December 30th at 7:59pm CST when a winner will be drawn via random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my winning notification email. Open to residents of the United States.
How to Enter:
Mandatory Entry: Go check out all the amazing products in the Conserve line, and come back here and tell me one product in their line you would like to see in your own home.
1. Subscribe to this blog via reader or email (2 entries)
2. Make a purchase at Baumgarten‘s(leave me the email address you used for the purchase) (5 entries)
3. List one way that you are going green at home or at work (1 entry)
4. Grab my button and leave a link to your site so I can find it (1 entry)
5. Follow me using Google friend connect (2 entries)
6. Subscribe to the Conserve brand blog (1 entry)
Disclosure: I was provided with samples for product review purposes. The views expressed in this post are strictly my own.