Waste is a big problem. Every day we produce more and more waste, but we can all do our part to help reduce this impact. Here are some tips on how you can create less waste at your next party or public event.
Provide recycling bins for guests to use
If you want to properly dispose of recyclable materials then its important that you have the proper bins to place these items so they are not mixed in with organic waste. When throwing your party or event be sure to place recycling bins next to regular waste bins throughout the area to encourage proper disposal of plastics, paper, glass, etc. This makes the process of recycling more convenient and easy to do for your guests. This simple step encourages a "be green" mindset and reduces waste. Include signage that reminds guests about the importance of recycling and what items go in which bin.
Offer reusable cups, utensils, and plates instead of disposable ones
Disposable cups, utensils, and plates are very wasteful of natural resources. Producing this type of packaging uses a lot of energy, water, and harmful chemicals that pollute the earth. At your next event instead of using disposable items try offering your guests reusable alternatives.
- Offer china or glassware for guests to use for food and drinks
- Provide reusable containers that guests can take home with them
- Use washable utensils
- Ask guests to bring their own utensils and reusable containers from home
- Use paper instead of plastic when possible and properly recycle the paper products
- Find "one-time" use glasses that you can clean and reuse at your next party or event
For large events such as weddings, speeches or festivals, glass containers are not the best option. They create a hazard because broken glass is dangerous and is more likely to become broken in comparison to their plastic counterparts.
A little advance planning goes a long way when it comes to clean up. Consider asking your friends or guests if they would be willing to help wash dishes and utensils after the party is over, or provide guests with a soaking station for their empty plates where they can place their dirty dishes and utensils to soak for easy cleanup after the party or event.
Use biodegradable utensils and plates if you must use single use containers
Asking your guests to bring their own utensils and reusable containers from home helps reduce waste but may not always be a viable solution. If you must use single use items, paper products are better than plastic when it comes to recycling. Plastic takes more time to decompose, produces harmful chemicals when in the landfill, and not all recycling centers accept certain types of plastic.
If you can, opt for easily compostable items such as bamboo utensils, paper plates, paper products made from recycled materials, plant based utensils and plates, biodegradable products, and sustainably sourced single use containers. This small step will help reduces your carbon footprint and help propel the eco-friendly utensil & container industry.
To reduce waste at your party serve food without pre packaging
When serving food at a party or an event, try not to pre-package the foods. Instead serve it on large washable dishes/containers that can be passed around from person to person or served individually from. This reduces waste and helps save time compared to the alternative.
Avoid Styrofoam Packaging
Styrofoam may be the most difficult material to recycle, so don't provide it if you can avoid it. If you must use containers that are made of this material, research local waste facilities or recycling centers that can recycle styrofoam properly. When providing take home containers made with styrofoam, encourage guests to utilize the full space of each container instead of using multiple containers.
Encourage guests to bring their own water bottle or drink container
This practice will reduce the number of plastic or paper cups that you go through and overall reduce any relative costs associated with your event.
Offer water or drink stations where guests can have their containers filled with available drinks such as water, soda, tea, etc.
Serve food without any plastic wrap or
Plastic wrap for food doesn't recycle easily so it's best to avoid putting it on anything. If you must use wrapping for containers opt for re-usable lids or aluminum (which is easier to recycle), make sure not to overuse aluminum wrap when possible.
Encourage people to bring their own bags or to buy a reusable bag at the event
Bringing your own reusable bag to a party or public event is a great way to reduce the amount of waste created. If you plan on selling reusable bags at an event, you can choose to sell them at cost so guests are more likely to purchase them.
Make sure there are specific trash cans available so people can properly dispose of waste
Last but not least, recycle whatever you can. If there are recycling bins available for guests to recycle things like glassware and paper products, recycle as many items as you can at the end of the event. Try to utilize trash cans for items that arent recyclable and if possible try to include trash cans that are for organic waste only (food) and then turn the organic waste material into compost!
Buy food and drinks in bulk for the party or event to reduce container waste
Not only will you likely save some money when buying food and drinks in bulk, but you can also reduce your waste of individual containers. Larger packaging doesn't always mean less waste but hey why not opt for bulk when you have the option.
Buy local produce and other products whenever possible to reduce transportation emissions and help small business owners
There are many benefits to buying local, including reducing transportation emissions and helping small business owners. If you can, buy local produce or other products such as meats and dairy for your event. An added bonus is to opt for organic and don't buy excess that may go unused.
Compost all of your organic waste (even if it's just banana peels!) instead of throwing them away
Composting helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. You can even compost items like banana peels! If you have a yard, give your compost to the plants and if not try looking for a place that can take your compost.
Dont Use Table Cloths
Table cloths are mostly unnecessary at parties. If you do use them, recycle them properly afterwards if they are single use. If you must use a table cloth opt for re-useable ones that can washed instead of discarded.
Keep Your Event Litter Free
Keep your event litter free by placing waste bins around the location and picking up any litter you may come across. This is even more important if it's a public area. Keeping the event clean will stop litter from drifting away to areas outside of your party or event. Imagine a plastic cup on a windy day, it could end up in the environment as pollution instead of at the recycling center where it belongs.
Less Décor Is More
If you're looking to cut down on the environmental footprint of your party or event, consider using recyclable or repurposed materials for decor. Create an eco-friendly atmosphere by making decorations out recycled items, purchase second hand decorations, or purchase decorations that can be reused over multiple occasions - just remember not every aspect needs extravagant displays and less decor makes for an easier cleanup process!
Make An Announcement About Food Waste & Recycling / Proper Disposal Of
Making an announcement about proper food and waste disposal will help motivate guests to do the right thing with their trash. Not every person is aware of why it's important to recycle and they may not take the time to seperate their waste properly at the bin stations. You don't have to give a 30 minute speech but just a brief explanation such as "Please be sure to separate your food waste into the proper waste and recycling bins when you are done eating" can make a huge impact on your guests and the way they dispose of items. This will also make cleanup a bit easier to do as well.
Dispose of waste properly after the party or event
Make sure you sort your trash, recycling and food scraps correctly. The appropriate containers should be disposed of according to what they are sorted into or taken for proper disposal at an approved facility - don’t just pile them up! Plastic bags should not go in your recycle bin so use paper bags or paper boxes instead if needed. An even better option is to put all recyclables loose inside a container without a bag or box.
If you found this useful, please share it with others. It’s not always easy to know what steps you can take to reduce your waste at an event or party. The tips we've provided are a great place to start and should help make that decision easier for you. Not only will these suggestions be helpful in reducing the amount of trash generated after your next get-together, they'll also help you save money on costs associated with disposing of leftover food items!