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Green Dishes program eliminates need for disposable dishes: Kawartha Lakes Food Source

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Kawartha Lakes Food Source announced the kick-off of a new program designed to eliminate the need for disposable dishes at community events, while also supporting food banks across the Kawartha Lakes.

“We were inspired by our recent work with to expand our efforts to reduce waste related to food and its consumption,” says Jessica Topfer, coordinator at Kawartha Lakes Food Source.

Jessica Topfer, Kawartha Lakes Food Source.

“Our new Green Dishes program will allow our community to reduce their environmental impact when hosting events that include food, while also helping food banks feed the need across the Kawartha Lakes. By putting your food on our Green Dishes, you’re allowing us to fill more plates in the community,” she says in a press release.

Green Dishes is a waste reduction program designed to offer an alternative to single use dishes and cutlery at private or public community events.

In a nutshell, organizations or individuals can borrow dishes, cutlery, and utensils for a set donation fee by completing an order form and agreeing to terms and conditions. Dishes are then picked up by the borrower, used, cleaned, and returned to Food Source. All proceeds go towards ending hunger in the Kawartha Lakes.

This program is open to the entire community to make use of, not just current partners of the Kawartha Lakes Food Source. Green Dishes is perfect fit for all types of gatherings, such as meetings, birthday parties, and conferences. Discounts will be available to fellow non-profit and social service organizations.

The program will include all staple items required for serving a full meal, including plates, bowls, drinking glasses, mugs, forks, knives, and spoons. Specialty items including serving bowls, trays, and tongs will also be offered. When completing an order form, borrowers specify the types and amounts of items they need for their own unique events. For now, the dishes available will be an eclectic set, with fun colours and patterns.

In time, Kawartha Lakes Food Source will expand their inventory to include a matching set to be able to offer for those events which require a more polished look.

Local market-based research conducted by Food Source demonstrates that Green Dishes will be more affordable to borrowers than buying eco-conscious dishes and utensils, such as biodegradable cups, plates, and cutlery. Based on online wholesale prices, it would cost approximately $55.88 for an organization or individual to purchase enough single use eco-conscious dishes and utensils to serve a full meal for 50 people.

Alternatively, the cost of borrowing the same number of dishes and utensils through the Green Dishes program would be $37.50. Aside from saving environmental costs, Green Dishes can save forward thinking organizations money as well.

For those individuals and organizations that might not be as concerned about the environmental impacts of using single use items, Green Dishes is still an affordable alternative to the generic wholesale items, according to Food Source. Based on online wholesale prices, it would cost approximately $24.80 for an organization or individual to purchase enough single use dishes and utensils to serve a meal for 50 people.

The cost of borrowing Green Dishes would be about $13 more expensive. However, as Heather Kirby, general manager of Food Source points out, “borrowers get the peace of mind that their donation will be used to reduce hunger in their community, rather than it ending up in the pockets of big business. Additionally, the use of glass, ceramics, and silverware can really elevate an event in comparison to paper, plastic, and Styrofoam.”

Food Source will be officially launching Green Dishes on April 1. Over the next month, Food Source is looking for the community’s support in collecting enough dishes and utensils to get the program off the ground. Drop off old dishes and cutlery at Kawartha Lakes Food Source warehouse at 41 George St W, Lindsay from Monday – Friday, anytime between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM.

Food Source would like to acknowledge and thank the Ontario Public Interest Research Group of Peterborough for allowing them to adopt the Green Dishes idea and introduce it to the community.

For more information about donating items, or the Green Dishes program in general, contact Jessica Topfer at 705-324-0707.

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