The CCCC: Community Crockery and Cutlery Collection.
Many of us dread having to use plastic plates and cutlery, I have made a real effort to create 'zero waste' at recent home gatherings (see my post about this) and have accumulated a fair amount of crockery and cutlery, but I am able to borrow too (and audacious enough to ask). With this in mind and in aid of facilitating the birth of a Sharing Community within Istanbul I am attempting to create a CCCC.
The CCCC is a large collection of all the things necessary to entertain for picnics, parties, weddings, lunches or any form of get together that involves food and drinks service. Whether your event involves finger foods and cocktails or tea and cakes, whether it's a sit down meal for 200 people or a picnic brunch for extended family the CCCC should be able to cater to your needs. In advance of your event you can reserve according to your numbers and needs and you can pick up from the caretaker. The goal is to be able to cater for up to 500 people which is quite a large collection so all donations are welcome!
I doubt that I have to explain why this is necessary or mention the horrendous impact that disposable products have upon our planet, but for the uninformed here and here are links that may clarify my motivation.
I have started a collection by buying some plastic stack-able crates and contributing some of my own plates, bowls, glasses and cutlery. Service plates and utensils are also very useful. The collection needs to be stored in a clean and dry place and the caretaker has to be available to lend out and recieve the CCCC (or part of it according to the needs of the person borrowing).
The CCCC will be available to anyone, you can borrow it (or part of it) for a small cash deposit which is refunded in full after the return of the clean set. The hygiene aspect is important and those that borrow should be fastidious about ensuring the set is returned in pristine condition. Linen napkins and table cloths can also be a part of the set and will need to be well laundered and ironed after use. The odd breakage is to be expected and would not be a cause for loss of deposit.
If you find yourself having to buy items that are not a part of the collection, say Champagne glasses or a specific colour napkin set you can then donate them to the CCCC and they will be available for you to borrow again in the future while enabling you to maintain a more streamlined and minimalist lifestyle without cluttering your cupboards with stuff that you may use once in a decade or a lifetime.
Everyone can take a look through their cupboards, that plate that your neighbour left and you forgot to return in years, the cups that remind you of your ex, glasses that just collect dust, those odd forks that make you wonder if someone in your family has kleptomania, these can all be donated to our Sile based CCCC or you may start up your own local one! The collection will be eclectic, any design is fine as long as they are not chipped or cracked.
This will be a first step towards a sharing, collaborative and collective community plus we get to save ourselves, others and our planet from the horrible single use stuff.
Please don't be deluded about so called environmentally friendly products and the biodegradable labels that are often very misleading! For instance paper disposable cups and plates have waterproof coatings that render them very unfriendly to our planet! If you don't believe me read this from the inspirational blog called Treading My Own Path.
In this photo you can see the piles of my own and borrowed plates and some of the cutlery that served our needs well when I hosted a party for 65 at my home.
So have a dig around in your cupboards, find some things you can donate and then come over to my house in Şile, Istanbul, we can stack your CCCC donation into the crates together and then drink tea and shoot the breeze for a while in my garden as co creators of a great sharing initiative! We can make an announcement when the CCCC is ready to be shared with at least settings for 50.
If you will create your own local Istanbul version let me know and we can collaborate and if you are further away and want to make your own local CCCC be sure to share with us how it goes so we can cross pollinate and inspirate.
See our Facebook group Eco Istanbul / Çevreci İstanbul for more info and events.
Also check out the Raw Foundation for their ideas as to how to limit pollution at big events (especially if you are planning on attending a festival in the UK)