My new novel, Float, was released in February, so we had a launch party at the Rocky Neck Cultural Center here in Gloucester. The plot of Float swirls around the dangers of plastics in the ocean, hence, no plastics at the party. In fact, I was giving out raffle tickets to anyone who brought in a piece of plastic washed up on the beach, which meant we couldn’t exactly serve drinks in plastic beverage glasses. We drank Blue Ocean punch out of waxed paper cups. The recipe called for coconut-flavored rums, blue curaçao, and Chambord, all of which came in glass bottles, so no problem there. Harder to figure out was the Sprite. Instead of plastic one-liter bottles, I opted for a case of aluminum cans. Aluminum has its own environmental problems, but at least it was not plastic. Thank you to my bartenders, Denise and Margi, for opening all those cans and here’s to wishing you both a speedy recovery on those index fingers.
I don’t drink carbonated beverages, but if I did, I would get one of these nifty Soda Streams for the kitchen, which turns tap water and flavored syrup into soda. Soda Stream is out to challenge the single-use plastic bottle market. Let’s hope this is the way the market is moving. Many of the Float party guests simply walked back out to the beach and picked up a washed-up soda bottle to claim their raffle ticket. Soda Stream machines are also are being hacked all over New York to create fizzy cocktails.
Paper plates were a no-brainer for the cocktail nibbles (fried calamari, locally smoked fish, gold fish and Swedish Fish), but I wish I’d known about Easy Island bio-plates, made from naturally fallen Areca palm leaf sheaths. No trees are cut down, no dyes or resins are used, they are aesthetically pleasing, and able to hold liquids for up to 6 hours. They can be composted or used as animal fodder when the party is over. What would Mr. Piggy think? He’d wonder if they came with any Swedish Fish.
The cocktail napkins were paper, the linens were real and washed at home, and the utensils were wooden toothpicks. Where, then, did I go wrong in having a green party for Float? The wine. At the liquor store, I’d chosen Fish Eye (but of course!) which was available in many varieties and two types of containers, glass and box. I chose the white wine in bottles because they needed to be iced, but I bought the red wine in boxes, believing that cardboard was more environmentally friendly than glass. Both are recyclable, but cardboard, I reasoned, could also decompose faster in the landfill. I am not a boxed wine drinker, so it wasn’t until I opened a spigot, did I realize that the box was holding a huge plastic bladder of wine. Plastic.
Sigh. I hope I made up for it with the raffle, in which we collected huge bags of marine debris that we brought to the recycling center. Jay McGloughlin won the Neptune’s Harvest cap, Beebe Nelson won the membership to Maritime Gloucester, Dianne Emmons won the quart of Neptune’s Harvest fertilizer, and Tom Cox won the copy of Float signed by both me and Karen Ristuben, who did the cover art. The best piece of Beach Plastic Award goes to Jen Fahey, who found this lovely plastic vixen on Brace Cove. She was too good to bring to recycling, so she now sits on my desk next to Salacia, a bisque doll from a completely different era, when there were no plastics to worry about.
Watch the Float Launch Party: http://youtu.be/ixUPIS8y2v8