Q&A.; - Party, Party!!

Another Curly Question from a TH reader: Heya Treehugger! So I've got a little problem. I'm throwing a big bash for New Year's and I'm expecting around 70 guests at my loft. My dilemma is in the drinkware for the New Year's toast. I don't want to purchase 100 glass champagne flutes only to use them once a year and then struggle to find a place to store them. On the other hand, it seems terribly wasteful to buy 100 plastic, disposable (hopefully recyclable) flutes. So what's the middle ground? Is their [sic] a company that makes recyclable drinkware from post consumer plastic? Or perhaps some other, more eco friendly material? I can't imagine I'm the only person that's ever had this problem. Nor is it isolated to New Year's. I've been steadily turning my lifestyle more green, but I don't want to start 2005 on the wrong foot. I know you can't address every e-mail that gets sent your way, but hopefully I'll be an exception! Much thanks, SV
Yo SV! Thanks for the question. We're more than happy to make you an exception. Particularly, as it provides us with the opportunity to prattle on, about one of our pet subjects. Namely, Product Service Systems (PSS.) Your dilemma is a classic example. You require the service provided by the product, but not the long term ownership of the product itself, along with its attendant hassles. And yes, your needs are the same as many others. Most folk don't have a wedding every month, for example, (unless you live near some hills called Hollywood, that is) but they still want to be able to toast the health of bride and groom. So to the rescue of yourself and multitudes of others having functions, come a bunch of businesses, under such Yellow Page headings as "party supplies", "wedding rental", "party hire" and such forth. In fact, you just need to supply the happy imbibers, these guys will provide pretty much everything else. And take it away when you're done (or done in!). The champagne flute, shown at the top, for example, would cost you $43 for 72 glasses for 2 days. They'll "clink" like the real thing, because they are. ::Hanna's Rentals [by WM]

What would really get the big thumbs up, would to be to find a party supply company that hired out Green Glass's flutes or goblets. Crafted from real glass bottles in a patented process, they look sharp, like the blue one to the left. Green Glass currently reuse bottles to the tune of about 25,000 glasses each month in South Africa, with a new plant in the US having 4 times that capacity. ($97 set of four.)

Alternatively you could go the fun, novelty route - use a bunch of clean, empty glass jars and donate them to your nearest bulk food co-op, after NYE.