Earth Day enthusiasts will dislike me for what I am about to say. Paper plates are underappreciated. People who plan children’s birthday parties, frat parties, and backyard barbecues will agree with me. Some might feel on the fence about their decision, knowing that environmentalists would protest their family get-togethers and scorn their choice in disposable products. But paper plates can be used for more than just food, and therefore they are often recycled.
Kindergarten crafts. You can cut up paper plates for just about anything. Kids get really excited to bring home paper plate lady bugs and dinosaurs, spiders at Halloween, and angels and snowflakes at Christmastime. You can make masks and have a masquerade ball, create a paper banjo, or a family of ducks. I have seen paper plates used to teach kids how to tell time, and layered so kids can learn their multiplication tables. What’s more? You can make your own index cards, use them as paint drip catchers, and prevent stored dishes (you know, your fancy china) from shattering by inserting them between layers.
The real reason I thought of this sits in front of me every single day at my desk. When I was 14, my parents surprised my sister and I by taking us to meet our idols. There was a luncheon at the radio station in town, and my adrenaline started pumping the moment I found out why we were there. Even though we waited in the room with a handful of other people, pent up and breathing in every moment with anticipation and impatience, none of us thought to find something for them to autograph. We had been surprised, so we hadn’t brought any of our memorabilia. But that’s ok, because pizza and paper plates were what we had at hand. And here I sit, with not one but two paper plates signed by Zac, Isaac, and Taylor Hanson.
See? There are many uses for those good ol’ paper plates. For most of those uses, the plates can then be placed in a recycling bin near you! Just not the autographed ones. Those ones are keepers.
SO Note: What do you find underappreciated? Let us know @Serial_Optimist or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.