It's not easy being green.
I remember when families did not have an appliance called a dishwasher. I also remember when my family got our first dishwasher. We lived on Hwy. 29 South, halfway between Lewisville and Hope, Arkansas. It was a pretty big deal - a dishwasher! It was not, however, a built-in. It sat over in the corner of the kitchen when it wasn’t being used. On the occasion that we did use it, we had to roll it across the room and hook it up to the sink faucet with a hose and an adapter and then plug it into a nearby electrical outlet. But we didn’t use it unless we had enough dirty dishes to fill it up. And we had to wash the dishes by hand before we put them in the dishwasher. If this sounds complicated and confusing, it was.
I come from a time when paper plates and paper towels were what we used. My parents had four children who ate and drank everything in sight. Paper plates and paper towels were considered necessary. I think we also used those red plastic drinking cups, but for some reason we did not use plastic cutlery. We eventually got a newer dishwasher - built-in! - but to run the dishwasher without a full load was considered wasteful and frivolous and irresponsible. The lavish use of water and electricity for a less than a full load was just extravagant. That was a different time. Everything was disposable. Everything.
And now, for at least the past fifteen years, Mr. Bobo and Mr. Beers have eschewed the use of paper and plastic. If you dine at La Casa de Beers y Bobo, you’ll be eating on a real plate, using a cloth napkin, and stainless steel cutlery. It’s not because we’re pretentious (or as my mom might say "fancy" or "high-falutin’"). It’s because it just makes more sense. And we like finding cool dishes - whether at a flea market or a fancy store, and cool napkins and stuff (our favorites right now are some we found at IKEA that were 2 or 3 for a dollar). There’s a washing machine and a dryer for the cloth stuff, and a perfectly good dishwasher for the other stuff. And the really great thing is that it makes the experience more pleasant. Think about it. And give it a try if you’ve been on the paper plate train all this time. Give it a try. You’ll like it. (The exception at our house is the wonderful roadie cup. Refreshing beverages have their own set of rules.)
In a somewhat related story, W. D. Deli has been moving in the direction of green. The business requires a certain amount of disposable stuff.
We do a lot of carry-out business and a lot of box lunch catering. Over the past several months we have been able to find alternatives to all of the styrofoam products we used for years.
To-go soup containers are now made of a special biodegradable material. Drink cups are made of recycled plastic bottles. Our cost of doing carry out business has increased significantly. The 20-oz. drink cup made from recycled plastic bottles costs W. D. Deli four or five times as much as the styrofoam cup we had used previously. Similarly, all of our other disposables are a lot more expensive these days.
Paying out quite a bit more money for to-go materials makes us want to be even more responsible and less wasteful. We are happy to be moving in this direction. It is the right thing to do. Mr. Bobo is confused when customers ask for to-go cups and to-go containers and then leave those things behind. He is similarly perplexed when he sees tables strewn with unused straws, paper napkins, and sweetener packets. Waste is thoughtless and irresponsible. While we are not the kings of Earth Day and all that cool stuff, we’re trying to be more thoughtful and responsible. Baby steps. But at least they’re steps.