Among the dedicated environmentalists who follow these ruminations are some serious party animals, at least judging by the response to a recent column on alternatives to disposable cups at college bashes. Since it's the time of the year when an inordinate amount of partying occurs (inordinate at least for us elders), here are some comments from readers who have successfully solved the problem of throwaway drinking vessels. Meanwhile, best wishes for the holidays! Salud!
From Salida, Colorado, Laura says:
"My thoughts on Dan in Titusville, New Jersey, regarding his keggers. I just had an open house and decided I couldn't buy plastic. So I cleaned out my cupboard and my office's cupboard. Gathered up about 50 glasses, some metal cups and a few coffee cups. No one cared and I swear half the people said "Dang, I should've thought about bringing my own glass." So that's my thought when you advertise for a party: Tell people to bring their own cups, tumblers, mugs, glasses, tankards, etc."
Sylvia, from Albuquerque, elaborates in some detail--and with remarkable recall--on her extensive experience with disposable-free parties:
"In the '60s I was the social committee for a university sports/social club, also off campus, and not officially supported by the University. We had at least two weekend parties a month (often more) and the attendees were deeply committed to the need for cups. I rented bar-quality glasses from a local restaurant supply and each attendee received a glass when they paid their admittance (calculated to include the cost of the glass and the hall but at no profit) at the door. They were told they would not be given a second glass and no rented glass, no beer. In the three years I ran the parties I do not remember one broken or lost glass. The regulars used to put sticker, marker stripes, or ties on their glasses to keep track of them. It is also useful to remember these same kids go to regular bars which customarily use glasses and they have not killed themselves. Of course glass does not belong at a pool party.
"A second thought is the use of printed souvenir recyclable plastic glasses. My son has several plastic glasses from parties and smiles when he looks at one. Needless to say they didn't get tossed, they occupy a shelf above his home bar. Not only do they bring back good memories, they start interesting conversations with guests as well.
"A third thought is attendees bring their own cup or mug or the house keeps assigned mugs. A note on the party flyer will take care of the first case: 'BYO beer mug' would do it. Obviously in this case someone has to make it clear that lightweight glass isn't acceptable. I remember attending campus Greek Society parties where individuals labeled mugs were kept at the bar and used for parties. Usually the base cost of the mug was not high and extra blank mugs were available for guests. Several of my college friends had specialty mugs that broadcast their personal style and would not have attended a party without that mug. I attended a medieval faire in Denmark this summer and received a ceramic cup with the purchase of my first drink. A nominal fee for the cup was included in the cost of the first drink. You could get that cost back if you turned the cup in prior to leaving, however many people kept the cup as a souvenir. This could also be applied to rented glasses if needed. There never has been a student so broke that they couldn't afford the cost of a drink container."