Do you want to throw a zero-waste or low waste party but you're not sure how? Follow these easy tips that will help you reduce waste without reducing the fun.
Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes. That sure is something to celebrate! So, why not throw an Earth-friendly party for Earth Day?
Of course, a party wouldn’t be appropriate for Earth Day if it didn’t take waste into consideration. Often, people rely on many single-use items when entertaining. Think about it: disposable cups, straws, and plates; plastic balloons and disposable décor; pre-packaged snacks and drinks. The trash can really add up! I’m here to show you how you can easily throw a low waste party with reusables, some DIY, and the circular economy.
Less waste, more fun
First, make sure to swap disposable plates and napkins for the real thing. This can either be your everyday tableware, or you can assemble a set of thrift store finds that you use just for parties. If you’re investing in throwing a party, invest in hosting and cleaning up responsibly.
Choosing homemade and package-free snacks is also a great way to reduce party waste. Check out these simple swaps:
- Ditch potato chips in favour of stovetop popcorn (made with a Whirleypop)
- Swap that prepared veggie and dip tray for homemade hummus and fresh cut veggies
- No need for packaged sweets when you can have homemade Earth sugar cookies, animal crackers from Bulk Barn. (to make the Earth cookies I used this recipe and this method)
- Keep it vegan by swapping dairy cheese for some cashew-based brie from Future of cheese
Instead of picking up a bunch of single serving beverages, make a big batch of something and serve it from a pitcher or dispenser. I made an herbal iced tea, but other great ideas include punch, lemonade, or sangria.
Ditch those ubiquitous disposable red cups in favour of reusables. I’ve collected several second-hand mason jars on the BUNZ trading app that are perfect as party glasses. You can also often find mason jars at your local thrift shop. Of course, you’ll also want to add reusable straws, which add a fun pop of colour as well as help guests identify their glass.
There’s no need to buy a bunch of new décor for every party, especially themed décor that you’ll likely never use again. Using my local Buy Nothing group, I was able to borrow two globes from a neighbour. Using the BUNZ trading app, I got a road map of Ontario and made some DIY bunting (here’s a tutorial).
Not only are plants a very appropriate decoration for Earth Day, plants and flowers make excellent décor for any party. And you get to enjoy them long afterward! Plants look especially good in our upcycled coffee sack baskets, as shown.
A photo booth makes a fun addition to any party. I used some photo booth props saved from a previous party, and guests could use any party décor as a prop as well.
Do you usually send guests home with a favour or goodie bag? Do these things typically get thrown away? Here are a couple of sustainable options that are sure to please any guest. Give each guest a reusable snack bag and let them fill it with leftover party snacks. Or send your guests home with their mason jar and reusable straw. Both options are not only useful, but they help reduce waste and clean up for you!
If you’re looking specifically for an Earth-focused activity, try your hand at making seed bombs, or leading guests in a litter cleanup in your neighbourhood.
It is Earth Day after all, so why not share an important environmental cause with your guests? I chose to share information about the Plant Based Treaty with a QR code for guests to endorse if they wanted to. You could also share a petition or collect donations for a charitable organization.
This is another area that can be super wasteful. Paper towels and plastic sponges? No thanks! I like to keep a spool of paperless towels handy to wipe up any spills during the party (and all the time). Dishes get washed with an upcycled dish scrubber and solid dish soap bar. Then, the dish scrubber, paperless towels, and cloth napkins can all go in the washing machine. Done!
I hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas to help you reduce waste at your next gathering.