By Jason Giovannettone  

For this next week of Lent, I would like to focus on fasting from the use of plastics during mealtimes.  

Rather than using plastic tablecloths, look for reusable linens that are sustainable, manufactured in an ethical manner, and not harmful to the environment.   

  1. Sustainable table linens will not need to be replaced on a regular basis, thus reducing overall consumption.  They should not fade or wear out after a few washes. 
  2. Ethically-made table linens are manufactured in facilities that treat their employees fairly and provide reasonable pay to allow workers to provide sufficiently for their families. 
  3. Environmentally-friendly table linens are made using natural materials.  Look for table linens that are made from organic natural fibers (ideally, they are ECOCERT certified), certified Fairtrade, and/or have received the OEKO-TEX certification, which means they are made without harmful chemicals and other substances. 

Look for linens made from natural and biodegradable materials such as organic cotton, linen, hemp, palm, and bamboo.  Only using fibers that are organically grown ensures that no harmful chemicals or practices were used when growing and harvesting the fiber material.   Try to avoid linens made from recycled plastic, which can release microplastics into the water during washing.  Some examples of companies selling natural fiber table linens include Rawganique (organic, natural fiber), Hazia from the North (organic cotton), I Love Linen (OEKO-TEX and ECOCERT certified), Made Trade (organic cotton, Fairtrade), Magic Linen (OEKO-TEX certified), and Ten Thousand Villages (Fairtrade certified), among others.     

If you feel strongly about the materials used to manufacture the tablecloths and other linens used in communal kitchen and dining areas, please ask your food service provider about purchasing table linens made from organic fibers through one of the companies listed above. 

Green Tip 

For an easy way to fast from one form of plastic this week, say “no” to plastic straws you are offered or abstain from drinking from any type of disposable plastic bottle. 


Much of the research above was taken from the website “Sustainably Chic.” 

You can reach Jason at