Mount Shasta’s Cheryl Boerger is saving the planet, one plate at a time. As a community service, she provides plates, cutlery and coffee cups for various local events, fundraisers and meetings – and she does it all free of charge.
Mount Shasta’s Cheryl Boerger is saving the planet, one plate at a time.
As a community service, she provides plates, cutlery and coffee cups for various local events, fundraisers and meetings – and she does it all free of charge.
Since Cheryl’s first function in March, she estimates that she has saved more than 2,500 disposable plates from ending up in a landfill.
Cheryl said she realized the need for such a service after attending and volunteering at numerous community events.
After cleaning up, she said dumpsters would be overflowing with waste, including paper plates, plastic silverware and styrofoam cups.
“Then I thought about all the heavy duty trash bags with paper plates stuffed inside them. They’d just sit in a landfill and never decompose. I thought about all that trash being made by such well intentioned people.”
That’s when Cheryl decided to do something about the problem, and began purchasing plates online. Currently, she can serve 150 people with matching white dinner plates, dessert plates, silverware and coffee cups, and another 50 if they don’t need to match.
“They’re all Corel, so they look pretty, plus they’re lightweight and non-porus, so they’re easy to wash and keep clean,” she said.
Cheryl said she often delivers the plates and picks them up after they’ve been washed, but other times she brings them home dirty and washes them herself.
“It’s best when they come back clean, but the important thing is that they get used,” she emphasized. Though it’s a lot of work, Cheryl said this is something she’s passionate about.
“I can’t not do it,” she said. “There are so many fundraisers in our community that support so many wonderful causes,” Cheryl said. “This is my community service to them.”
When the plates are used in place of disposables, Cheryl said she’s seen functions go from a dumpster full of trash to just one bag.
The best part, Cheryl said, is that she sees awareness increasing. People are beginning to book her plates in advance.
“It’s really a ripple effect. People are starting to think about the planet, and that gives me even greater joy,” she said.
Organizations including the Senior Nutrition Program, Save the Rain, the Ecology Center, the 4-H Club, the Mt. Shasta Education Foundation, Friends of the Library, the Community Water Rights group, the Siskiyou Arts Council, the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce and several private parties have used the plates so far.
“I’ve just been thrilled with the response I’ve had,” Cheryl said.
Along with the help of her husband, Paul, and her son, Sean, various people and groups from the community have helped her in her endeavor.
“I really want to thank all the people who have volunteered,” she said.
In the future, Cheryl said she’d like to increase her stock to 200 matching sets. She’d also like to get wine glasses and bowls – two of the items that have been requested recently, though she worries about where she’ll store them when not in use.
If you would like to donate to help purchase more plates, or if you’d like to use Cheryl’s plates, silverware or cups, call her at 926-0304.