The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth are moving towards eliminating single-use plastics, one of the goals under the 2018 General Assembly Directive to “intensify efforts across the Congregation to address the destruction of natural resources and the ecological and environmental crisis.” (4B)

The newly refurbished hospitality room at the SCN apartments in Louisville, Kentucky, is doing just that. Thanks to some strategic changes, those gathering there will no longer have to use disposable plates, utensils, glasses, or napkins. Lifecycle studies that compared the resources and emissions of reusable dinnerware compared to disposable concluded that, across the board, “Reusable is far superior to recycling.”

Cabinet drawers are full of reusable plates, water glasses, coffee mugs, and silverware. Donna Schmidt, the coordinator for Community Service, showed off the new double sink and dishwasher, installed to make washing up easier. Sisters living on “the hill” donated cloth napkins, which add a colorful and festive air to the room. A laundry basket in the corner holds dirty napkins, which are washed once a week.

In addition to reusable dinnerware, the old plastic laminate tables were replaced with sturdy square wooden tables and chairs rescued from the Motherhouse attic and covered in cloth tablecloths. The old tables were donated for others to use.