It’s Plastic Free July. Have you made your pledge to refuse single use plastic in July?
How do you go plastic free when throwing a party?
Whether you are throwing an elegant affair for 20 or a neighborhood block party for 200, you can still be Earth-friendly and have a plastic free 4th of July and every day of the year! Here are some key tips.
Use Reusables, Not Disposables
By reusables I mean stuff you aren’t going to throw away after a single use. Here are some options you can use instead of the single use stuff.
Plates and Bowls
China, Corelleware or even camping gear
Glassware, reusable water bottles, stainless steel mugs, and travel mugs
Use your own silverware or if you don’t have enough, buy some extra at a yard sale or thrift store. Camping utensils also work.
Cloth napkins can range from something you buy in a store, an old t-shirt, or even bandanas bought at a thrift store
Table linens are the easiest option, but if you don’t have any, you can purchase them at a yard sale or thrift store. Another great option is Kraft paper which you can buy online or at an office supply store. It enables you to write on the actual paper with a marker and indicate the name of each dish right in front of where you place the dish! If you are having a potluck, you can designate sections of the Kraft paper covered tables for appetizers, salads, entrees, and desserts.
If You Must Use Disposables, Ensure They Are Compostable
If you must use disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, use Earth-friendly options made from sugar-cane fiber, wheat grass, corn, and recycled paper. You can find these online, at Whole Foods, organic food stores and even Party City.
IMPORTANT! Most compostables will NOT breakdown in your backyard compost bin. They will only breakdown in a commercial compost facility. So if you municipality has curbside compost collection, then you are good to go! But don’t put this stuff in your backyard compost pile. It won’t get hot enough to break down. Just place it in the landfill. It’s not ideal, but less bad than putting plastic in the landfill.
Make Waste Disposal Easy for Guests
I’ve found that guests will place their waste in the closest container — regardless of whether it is marked Trash/Landfill or Recycling. So make it easy for your guests and put your containers next to each other. Depending on the size of your party, have one or more waste disposal areas.
If you can, have someone stand by the waste disposal area(s) to ensure guests dispose of items properly. It minimizes confusion, educates your guests, and the person or people working this area can get to meet all the guests!
If curbside composting is offered in your area, include a large container for compost, another container for recycling, and ideally, a very small container for trash. To encourage less waste, only provide reusable or compostable products. That way you will have minimal landfill waste.
Even if you have someone standing by your waste disposal area, it’s helpful to post easy-to-read signs that indicate what goes in each container. For example, the compost container will take all food scraps, napkins, plates, cutlery and cups (but of course ONLY if those items are compostable!), the recycling container will take cans and bottles (or whatever may be at your party) and the trash/landfill container will take anything that can’t be composted or recycled (which hopefully is not much at all).
Serve Earth-Friendly Food
The best food for the planet and our health (not to mention the animals) is vegan/plant-based food. Not sure what to serve? Check out these recipes:
If you are short on time for your party, this is a really simple recipe from Sweet Life Wellness. I love to prepare it because it has 4 simple ingredients — arugula, blueberries, quinoa, and red onion along with a simple dressing made of lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper.
This is a spicy potato salad with curry and raisins that my husband created around the NBA playoffs a few years ago.
This comes from my friends The Dirty Hippie & the Bohemian Girl and you just might fool some folks into thinking that it is pork barbeque! You can serve it on a bun, but not all buns are vegan, so try a hard bun or perhaps a corn tortilla.