What is the Community Dishes kit?
The Community Dishes kit is a free-to-borrow set of crockery, cutlery and glassware. It is available for loan to local groups to help them reduce waste, reduce stuff and share with our community (Victoria Park, WA).
It currently consists of:
50 x entrée forks
50 x entrée knives
50 x dessert spoons
50 x teaspoons
50 x bistro plate 185mm
50 x bistro rice bowl 127mm
50 x Polysafe (polycarbonate) middy 285ml
50 x mug 260ml
50 x drinking glass jar with handle 488ml
50 x wine glasses
Each item is boxed (25 per box) for easy transport and storage.
The kit is administered by volunteers. The project was possible thanks to a Keep Australia Beautiful (WA), Community Litter Grant.
What problems is the Community Dishes project trying to solve?
Primarily, the Community Dishes project is about reducing waste, particularly single-use plastic and disposables, and reducing litter.The focus is on small-scale events and gatherings up to 50 people, particularly for community organisations who would not be able to purchase, or pay for hire of, reusables. It does this by providing a practical alternative – a free-to-borrow kit of crockery, cutlery and glassware.
Single-use disposables are generally not recyclable. They end up as landfill, or worse – contaminate the regular recycling stream or become litter. Disposable coffee cups, food packaging, water bottles and plastic cutlery are commonly found in litter clean-ups. Beverage containers and takeaway food packaging (along with cigarette butts) account for 67% of Australian litter according to the 2015/2016 National Litter Index. Clean Up Australia found over 5% of all paper litter was hot beverage cups.
Reasons for choosing single-use over disposables is sometimes a lack of awareness of plastic pollution and the waste problem, but it is also a lack of alternative solutions. Reusables require funds to purchase initially and space to be stored, and often don’t make sense for one-off or infrequent events. Hiring reusables can be expensive for community groups fuelled by passion but without funds.
To address this, the Community Dishes kit is available to borrow without cost or the need to store. It is also helping raise awareness of the litter issue.
What does the Community Dishes project hope to achieve?
Reduced landfill waste and litter: if the kit is used weekly, it will save 2,600 disposable coffee cups and over 10,000 pieces of plastic cutlery per year.
Waste education: raise awareness of the litter issue, and demonstrate alternatives. Our goal is to normalise the use of reusables over disposables.
Better use of resources: one community resource to be shared and borrowed regularly rather than individually purchased items used once or twice.
Encourage giving: the more things that can be shared freely, the less waste created and less stuff required. Good intentions breed good intentions, and the Community Dishes kit hopes to encourage the continued growth of the local sharing economy.