We all love a good party.
A whole night of laughter, games and overall good times with your friends and family sounds wonderful! But you know what doesn’t?
We can hear the groans already. Nobody likes saying goodbye to the last few party guests only to turn around and sigh at the sight of food crumbs and paper cups scattered across the floor, the pieces of glitter lining the couch, or the leftover bits of plastic on the table from opening gifts.
You’re not alone in this.
The environment doesn’t appreciate it either. Each year 230 million tonnes of waste is produced by people in the United States alone, and disposable party plates and soda bottles only adds to the problem.
So let’s make preparing your parties a more pleasant experience for everyone. Below is a simple but effective checklist that you can follow so you can be a party animal without hurting animals. Or plants. The Earth in general.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Cups, Plates and Cutlery
Before anything else, for most parties, you’re going to have a lot of guests. And that means they’ll need a lot of fuel.
They also probably don’t want to be crowding around the salad bowl or the pitcher.
There are lots of things you can do here to minimalize your house party waste.
Instead of getting disposable plates or cutlery at the supermarket down the street, consider eliminating the need for them altogether by offering quick and easy finger foods. And for the food hoarders, you can always offer the regular plates from home. Or better, yet, make them bring their own reusable containers or plates!
As for cups, this is pretty simple. Just as with food, have some reusable glasses or cups clean and ready for the occasion! If you’re worried about having too few, ask people to bring their own reusable bottles or mugs.
By not using disposable dishes or cutlery, you can cut down on costs, trash to clean up and waste all at the same time! And if you really need to get some, buy the ones that are biodegradable and won’t pollute our oceans.
Food and Drink
Now for the good stuff. As mentioned before, prepare some simple dishes people can eat by hand, like chips, cookies or fruit. With the internet, learning a new recipe has never been easier.
Want to wow the guests even more? Go all the way and make some vegan dishes or even zero waste recipes. Turn old leftovers into tasty treats. Swap the milk and eggs for plant-based alternatives when baking. Try out some new, natural flavors. This is a chance for you to get creative and impress people.
Imagine the satisfaction you’ll feel when you say, “try these vegan muffins. I baked them myself!”
Some people enjoy a more down-to-earth house party while sitting down in front of the TV. Others might prefer something a little more lavish.
Regardless, you might decide you want to spruce the place up a bit.
Go for it! There are several ways to create party decorations that won’t end up polluting the environment.
The first thing you can do is shop for decorations made out of organic material that will decompose naturally. This is the most convenient way to go about it.
Another thing you can do that might potentially be more fun, as well as save on costs, is to make your own decorations yourself!
You can cut out and paint recycled cardboard nametags or banners. You can tie up old clothes or towels into colorful streams and curtains. You can even punch holes in leaves to create all-natural confetti! And don’t worry, removing just one leaf won’t hurt the plant at all. There’s a ton of things you can do!
House Rules (What the Guests Can Do)
The last thing to check off the list are the house rules. They’re a chore, but they’re necessary so things don’t end up turning into a mess – both figuratively and literally.
In addition to previously mentioned things like getting the guests to bring their own water bottles or cutlery, as the host you should also encourage them to be eco-friendly as well.
Ask them to pitch in by bringing their own leftovers, or if they’re bringing some gifts (a lucky someone’s birthday, perhaps?), ask them to use sustainable packaging, or wrap them in cloth instead.
And it goes without saying that you should prepare distinguishable bins for both recycling and disposable waste for the event. That way you can simply drop the appropriate waste off at your local recycling facility.
Be Ready for Disposables
Despite being armed with this checklist of sustainable party tips, you should still prepare for some waste left behind at the end of the day.
Sometimes, regardless of your efforts, compromises just have to be made for the sake of convenience. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about it, nor should you shame someone else for it. Just do what you can to reuse and recycle, then dispose the rest and move on.
You should still pat yourself on the back for doing your best to live a more sustainable life. No matter how small the effort, it still goes a long way.