Who doesn’t enjoy partying in the company of friends and family? Parties are fun after all! Yet, post party sites generally consist of a plethora of plastic cans, cups, plates and cutlery unless you’re a host who loves to display your ceramic-ware utensils. And how can we forget food items on the menu that end up in the waste bin. It cannot be denied birthday parties; celebrations and festivals lead to whole lots of plastic waste, leave alone the harmful effects it will have on the environment. What can we do to help to protect the planet without missing out on a good time? The answer is throwing a zero waste party. The good news is with a little planning and creative thinking it’s possible to plan a party that everyone will love, with no harm to the planet.
Things to do pre-party
- It’s important to let your guests know in advance about your upcoming zero-waste party. Announcing your intention in the invitation card is the best thing to go about raising awareness and encouraging others to do the same.
- Paper decorations not only look great in photos but are also much better alternatives for the sake of the environment! You can also decorate your party space with homemade fabric buntings and pom-poms instead of using plastic balloons, banners etc.
- If it’s a birthday party and you’re expecting gifts, you can politely ask your family and friends for plastic-free gifts like homemade treats, donations to some charity, gift cards, or tickets to something a family/kid could do together!
Here are 10 tips to get started
Organization is important if you’re planning your first-ever zero waste event- getting organized will save you from the impulse buys. Carefully plan everything you will need (food, decorations, games) on the day of the party a little in advance. This makes it easy for you to source the required items at little or no cost like making bunting to decorate the table, getting extra glasses or plates from a friend, or hiring chairs.
It all comes down to the right food list – offer food items that don’t require a plate to be served on. Finger foods like veggies, slices of cheese, cake and sandwiches cut to the list. It’s important to pay attention to the fact that you don’t need one of each food item for each guest. Keep the portion size in check while serving the food.
Pick eco plates to serve food – In case, you want to use disposable tableware, the market is full of biodegradable and recyclable options. Search the market in advance and you will find plates made from plant leaves, bamboo plates making them the must-have eco-friendly options.
Say no to single-use water bottles – Giving plastic bottles to each kid might be convenient, but it creates a lot of plastic pollution. Thus, it is important to buy drinks in larger bottles and serve drinks/water in reusable cups or glasses instead of the plastic ones. If you’re using disposable cups, make sure you keep a pen handy so that guests can write their name on theirs to reuse it as long as the party goes.
Get nature into your home- When you’re planning a zero-waste event, it pays to work in tandem with nature. You can easily use what mother Earth has provided you with while the most beautiful decorations come from outside like flowers, twigs, bushes etc. Instead of a table runner, use a larger leaf while a smaller one can be used to create a garland around the center-piece or popped into the Mason jar. Flowers wall or a flower bunting is a trending backdrop option. After the party is over, the dried flowers can easily be composted. This means you don’t need to buy plastic junk.
Make kids understand the importance of composting - Keep a tub/box in close proximity for recyclables and one for food scraps if you compost.
To give or not give return gifts - The battle is real when it comes to deciding if you should be giving away return gifts. No doubt kids love them but return favours aren’t essential. But the truth is, they are a perfect way to end a party. Fill the favour bags with one or two quality items like a book or box of crayons instead of filling it with multiple single-use plastic toys that will ultimately make it to the landfill.
Send a digital invitee – Email or WhatsApp digital invitations instead of getting them printed and sending them off to each guest. This will ensure your party footprint remains light
Pick quality stuff- If you’re buying decorations, look for quality, durable pieces that can be used more than once. Buy bunting that can be later hung in a bedroom. Table confetti is one item that can be used afterwards by the kids. Similarly, a quality cake topper can be used years over years until it is worn out.Keep it simple – When you’re throwing a party, it is easy to go overboard with decorations. Since excess of everything is wastage, limit the waste by decorating only a single party area/space in a room. Skip the plastic tablecloth and instead use old newspaper or scrap paper to decorate the table cover at the party! Kids generally create their own fun games when they are together so plan less or no structured play.
Things to remember while your party is getting over
- While your zero-waste party comes to close, pick goody bags made from paper instead of plastic gift bags to give them to the guests.
- You will do the environment a whole lot of good if you fill the goody bags with gifts and snacks that have no plastic packaging. Make it simple yet impactful by adding a fruit, homemade cookies, super seeds in paper packets, plants, upcycled newspaper coloring pencils, diary/journal or a notepad!
- After the party is over, take a breather and collect all the items and filter them in a way they can be reused or recycled. Put away the left-over food items in the compost box and used paper in the recycling bin. Store decorations for the next celebration! The purpose is to reuse and recycle most of the items.
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