Why we said goodbye to the bowls

Man, they sure are photogenic... maybe we've made the wrong decision? Hmmm. No.
Man, they sure are photogenic… maybe we’ve made the wrong decision? Hmmm. No.

One of the things that people have said they’ve loved since the very first SOUP event was our use of ceramic and stoneware bowls. Lovingly scavenged from area thrift stores and donated by generous supports, we’ve collected nearly 200 bowls and almost 150 plates.

For over a year, we’ve grown our collection as our events have gotten bigger. Before each event, the entire team pitches in to wash all the bowls, sometimes by hand. After an event… well, you can imagine it’s a mess. All of the bowls have to be washed again before being placed into storage for three months. Then we repeat the process all over again. With nearly 350 bowls and plates needing to be washed twice, and considering the average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per load, you can see we go through a lot of water to ensure we have clean dishes for each event.

Oh, did we mention they are heavy? Yep. Those 350 dishes do not weigh a few pounds they –weigh all of them. We’ve broken four big plastic Rubbermaid totes carrying them to and from venues. We *might* have once broken a cart that *may* have belonged to a venue that could not withstand the sheer weight of the dishes. Hefting these babies around gives a good workout.
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Bowls in Storage
These are what the bowls look like after three months in a storage shed.

One last thing about our good ol’ ceramic and stoneware bowls… they break. We’ve lost dozens of bowls along the way. Good friends gone, but not forgotten. How do they break? Any number ways: dropped during an event (full of soup), dropped into the bin too hard, and some are broken when the bins are slammed onto the ground because they are so heavy. We had a bunch broken in storage when a massive windstorm knocked all of the bins over. We had one break from being washed (it was fine when it went into the dishwasher!)

So, we knew that a change had to be made. We discussed it for quite some time before deciding that the best action we could take would be to find a responsible way for easing the burden, so to speak. We did some research and found that compostable bowls have become rather inexpensive and would fit well into our rather small budget. We felt confident that switching to something biodegradable and fully compostable was the right move, both for us and for the environment.
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We are excited to debut the new bowls and plates at our next event. We hope everyone will understand our decision and be excited for our ‘green’ dishes. We plan on continuing to use the metal spoons and forks we acquired when we first began, right along with a large supply of corn-plastic spoons generously donated to us by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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The next step for the ceramic and stoneware bowls is to find them a new home. We plan on donating them to a local shelter or soup kitchen in need of such supplies. We’re also looking to partner with an organization interested in composting our bowls and plates after our events to ensure that they are as ‘green’ as possible. If you are such an organization, or involved with one, contact us and let us know!
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Green Soup BowlsGreen Soup Plates

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