Is it Bad Hosting to use Paper Plates and Fake Silverware?

I love giving parties, but I hate cleaning up — has there ever been a less controversial statement? Disposable plates and utensils are an obvious fix for the post-party drudgery, but they are constantly threatened by the Scylla and Charybdis of "cheap-looking" and "bad for the environment." Here are a few classy-looking disposable options, many of which are eco-friendly, to boot.
  • Wasara plates and cutlery are made from tree-free renewable materials like sugar cane, bamboo, and reed pulp. It is fully biodegradable and compostable, and also microwaveable. 9" round plates are $12 for 8 at Branch Home.
  • Sturdy and handsome, Bambu plates are made of bamboo and biodegrade within six months of use. 9" round plates are $12.95 for 8 at Sur La Table.
  • Bambu flatware is reusable, though requires handwashing. 24 piece set is $12 at Sur La Table.
  • Kate's Paperie sells this beautifully-crafted wood flatware for one-time use. $5 for a single setting.
  • If you're interested in style and cost more than sustainability, Oriental Trading carries Tartan plaid paper dinner plates that would look great at a Christmas party. 24 9" square plates for $7.99.
  • These sleek black rectangular paper plates are less flexible than regular paper plates, and would work well at a cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres, or a non-seated dinner party. 7.5" x 12". Available at Kate's Paperie in black or deep orange, 8 plates for $6.
  • Kate's Paperie also carries the stylish Orleans polycarbonate utensils in black, white or clear. 4 settings for $19.
  • Spudware utensils are made of vegetable starch and vegetable oils, and are biodegradable and compostable while also being heat tolerant. 50 sets for $16 from gaiam.com.
  • If you want the polished style of a formal event, but without the hassle of cleaning and returning rental dishware, you can buy disposable tableware packages from Divine Disposables in various colorways and themes. Pictured is the Winter's Accents theme, $8.56 per place setting.

Images: sources as linked above.

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