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China Maker Sets the Table for Earth Day


Expressing a conscious regard for the environment, many gourmet and table-top product manufacturers have joined mass activism in support of Earth Day 1990 this Sunday. Involvement includes such steps as condensing packaging to reduce solid waste, committing time and money to aid antipollution projects and creating awareness campaigns to help revamp society's behavior.

Villeroy & Boch Tableware Ltd. pursues this global issue with a "Let's Mug America" campaign, encouraging the public to use permanent china mugs or cups in place of disposable paper or plastic foam cups. "The goal is to impress upon Americans how a simple change of habit--such as using a porcelain mug--can make a world of difference," according to Dale Ritter, president of this 242-year-old china company. "By vowing to give up plastic foam we can contribute to the future survivality of life on earth."

The throw-away villains are not only detrimental to the ozone layer but heavily contribute to the heaping waste problem that researchers say is accumulating at a rate of 110 million tons of solid waste per year.

The "mugging" of America program is just one of Villeroy & Boch's positive approaches to environment in vogue. In the past the tableware manufacturer has raised funds for other conservation causes such as donating thousands of dollars to the World Wildlife Fund. The money was generated from the sales of its animal plate series.

In honor of Earth Day, the company suggests pretty floral patterns in their porcelain collection. Besides having the benefit of holding an ample amount of tea, coffee, soup or other beverages and offering a sturdier quality than disposables, mugs come in a great range of attractive colors and designs.

Another charming porcelain mug selection is the Botanical Mugs from Williams-Sonoma ($19.50). Nurturing nature, the white 11 1/2-ounce mugs are designed with old botanical engravings of six different European flowering herbs. The Hungarian-made mugs come in a set of six.

Coffee drinking environmentalists would likely choose a tree-saving permanent filter for their drip coffee maker over a disposable paper filter. One of the companies now making the reusable version is Krups with its Gold Mesh Filter ($20). Made in Switzerland, the permanent filters are available in a No. 2 size to fit most coffee makers and a No. 4 model that has an adapter ring for Krups' 10- and 12-cup machines.

Some paper filters, however, are environmentally sound. Last year, there was the chlorine-free unbleached brown filter introduced by Melitta. And now here comes a brand new white filter from Mr. Coffee, which is whitened using no elemental chlorine--a bleaching agent that produces undesirable chemical by-products such as dioxin. In response to the tree-conservation effort, Mr. Coffee filters are made from 50% fewer trees.

Another advantage of the new filters is that although they make better tasting coffee than the regular Mr. Coffee filters, the price remains the same. The packaging has a more attractive design and will continue to be made of biodegradable recycled paper.

To assist with environmental projects, Mr. Coffee will donate one penny to environmental charities for each box of filters it sells between July 1 and December 1.

Messages to save the earth are stated not only from actual product use but are etched in tableware designs as well. Artist/designer Lynda Sylvester's concern for environmental preservation is imprinted in three new porcelain dinnerware patterns that she designed for the LS Collection (from $144 a place setting).

Her sentiment over the Brazilian rain forests inspired Rainforest, highlighted with a lush tropical foliage banding that's stroked with jazzy splashes of 24-karat gold. Concerned that the universe is becoming endangered by advanced technologies, she created the Universe dinnerware pattern. It represents an abstract planetary design in a blend of midnight blue and black with 24-karat gold accents.

Sylvester's Basketmaker III pattern in monochromatic black and white with copper colored rim will win favors from advocates of American Indian heritage. It's a mystical pastiche of the sun, moon, stars, mountains, clouds, animal and hunters--the vital elements and rituals of ancient southwest Indian living.

Villeroy & Boch Mugs are available at Villeroy & Boch Creation shops (Beverly Hills) and other fine china stores. Botanical Mugs are available at Williams-Sonoma.

Krups Gold Mesh Filter is available at Williams-Sonoma. Mr. Coffee Filter is available at department stores, drugstores and specialty gourmet coffee stores.

LS Collection dinnerware patterns are available at Tesoro's (Beverly Hills).

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