Spring & Summer months are often a good excuse to throw more parties, spend more time outside and enjoy the sunny and warm weather. Picnics, barbecues, outdoor weddings, end of year parties and birthdays are all good reasons to enjoy the nice weather. However, those events often generate a lot of unnecessary waste. Here are five tips that can help you create eco-friendly parties to enjoy summer without feeling guilty.
Choose eco friendly tableware
Disposable dishes, cutlery and paper towels are often the first thing that comes to mind when throwing an outdoor event. Plastic and paper tableware may seem easier to use but they often generate a lot of waste. Sustainable alternatives such as reusable plates and tableware can help you reduce the waste. Alternatives to plastic are being developed with for instance the UK based company Cornware creates biodegradable plates and cutlery made out of corn, and the company Greentones sells resistant tableware sets made of bamboo fibers that can replace traditional plastic dishes for kids.
Make sure you avoid plastic straws, which are very hard to recycle and often end up in our oceans, impacting marine life. Swap them for a more sustainable alternative such as those fancy biodegradable paper drinking straws.
If you already have disposable tableware or leftover plastic straws from your last party, and still want to use them, TerraCycle provide a recycling solution through the Zero Waste Box for party supplies and Dining Disposables.
Plan a Zero Waste menu
Banning plastic from your event is a first step towards a zero-waste party but you can also choose to simply avoid the need for plates and cutlery and opt for food which is not wrapped in plastic packaging.
Barbecues and picnics are the perfect excuse for finger food and snacks. In one of her videos, the lifestyle blogger MissLizHeart gives you a few recipe ideas to make tasty and appealing food for outdoor events that remains convenient and easy to eat. For instance, why not replace the traditional cake with her “strawberry cheesecake bites”, perfect for summer and sunny days. You can also find snack ideas and easy to make appetizers recipes on the Zero Waste Home website. Those alternatives will reduce the need for disposable tableware and unnecessary packaging and reduce the environmental impact of your event while impressing your guests with mouthwatering recipes. If you think that a party without crisps or sweets is not a party, or if you can’t find package free meat for your BBQ, make sure your recycle your waste with TerraCycle! Choose our Zero Waste Box for Candy and Snack wrappers or our box to recycle all sorts of Plastic packaging.
Rethink your party theme
Party decorations are not mandatory, but they can sometimes be a nice addition when wanting to organize a themed or special event. For Children’s birthdays, weddings, baby showers or simple outdoor meetings to enjoy the nice weather, some easy tips can help you reduce your waste while still throwing a great event. You can for instance replace traditional balloons with biodegradable ones, garlands and confetti with flowers or use candy and sweets to decorate children’s birthday table. You can also choose to make your own party decorations, there are plenty of DIYs that can help you upcycle to create inventive and personal party decorations. For instance, you can create a nice recycled vase with an old lightbulb or use clothespin to create cute decorations for your children.
When traditional decorations are a requirement, TerraCycle helps you recycle the waste thanks to the Zero Waste Box for Party Supplies and Dining Disposables.
Replace traditional paper invites
For weddings and large events, the first alternative to traditional paper invites that comes to mind is using recycled paper. You can either buy recycled paper instead of traditional paper of even make creative invites using paper you already have or paper that is made out of bamboo or cottons. You can even use “seedpaper”, which allows you to plant it after the event and watch the flowers grow. For children’s birthday parties, involve your kids in the making of creative and personalized invitations. You can also choose to print them using natural inks, that are less harmful to the environment. It is also possible to completely avoid paper by creating an online event where people can respond and say whether they can attend or not or send customized email invitations.
Why not take advantage of the event to raise awareness amongst people around you on waste management and recycling ? Before the event, explain to people that you are aiming to host a sustainable and zero waste party. If you’re planning a birthday party, you can ask your guest to bring eco-friendly gifts. Similarly you can suggest them to favour glass bottles instead of plastic ones.
You can even make it your party theme by creating a zero waste event and inviting people to think about waste management and ways to avoid unnecessary waste. At the end of the party, think about sorting and recycling your waste. You can even ask your guests and children to take part in the recycling to raise awareness on waste management and the impact of our consumption choices.
We hope that those tips are helpful, and that you are looking forward to your next green and zero waste party! If you have more advice on how to host a sustainable event, please let us know, we would love to hear from you!