*From Austin Creative Reuse's Blog:
This month, we feature The Austin Dish Lending Library, a local sustainability organization working to keep Austin quirky. Their eclectic library of dishes provide an alternative to disposable, single-use dishes and cutlery that are all too familiar at events.
What is the mission of your company or organization?
The Austin Dish Lending Library’s mission is to help Austin reach its zero waste goals by providing reusable alternatives to single-use dishes and utensils for Austin area events.
What environmental issues does your company address?
Our organization works to keep disposable dishes out of the landfill and meet Austin’s need for reusable dishes. Many small events don’t have a budget for expensive dish rentals, so they resort to cheap disposable plastic plates and utensils. By offering free dish rentals we are able to give people, organizations, and businesses the opportunity to make their event greener and reduce their waste! All items are picked up, washed, and returned back to us, keeping dishware from a small 8 person gathering to a larger 100 person event out of the landfill.
What eco friendly initiatives does your company or organization uphold?
The Austin Dish Lending Library focuses on reduction and reuse. People can use our reusable dishware and reduce the amount of new items they need to buy for their event, which would most likely have ended up in the trash. Our dish collection includes a variety of items needed for an event like plates, bowls, cups, wine glasses, serving platters, cloth napkins, silverware, and more. All of the dishware we have was donated, saving even more items from the landfill to be used again. We even keep dishes that break along the way, and send them a local artist Laura to upcycle into unique art!
How do you hope to make an impact on the Austin community or world at large?
I hope we can help the Austin community realize there are more ways to be eco friendly and reduce waste than just recycling and composting. To reach Austin’s zero waste goals we need to focus on reduction and reuse, and I hope the Austin Dish Lending Library can help grow a lending community in Austin. The founder, Joanna, first heard about a Dish Lending Library when she was looking for a cheap dish rental option for her small nonprofit event. Unfortunately the closest one was in Canada, so she decided to create one in Austin! It would be great to see more Dish Lending Libraries created in other cities or countries as more people learn about them.