Our daughter's stunningly-excellent third grade teacher recently sent out a request to parents to help him become zero waste for class parties. I, like an idiot, said yes. An idiot because I knew the trail would lead me right to Target and Ikea, places I tend to avoid at all costs.
Target had some great little melamine plates, fairly cheap metal forks and spoons, and acrylic juice glasses that should do nicely. I hated to go with plastic, but didn't see any way around it, and at least it will be used for years. (We did a similar thing with our picnic gear for our weekly neighborhood picnic, and now we are waste-free, which is a great feeling.) I am hard on the trail of some cheap cloth napkins to complete the set.
The teacher and I worked out that whatever parents volunteer to host the party now also pop the dishes in the washer and return. (I bought a basket to put it all in to make it easier.) I volunteered to handle the napkins. Hopefully it will inspire other classrooms to do the same.