Were you able to celebrate Earth Day last weekend? If not, don’t fret! I strongly believe the Earth should be celebrated every day of the year. From hosting “greener” events to fun activities with your children, scroll down for easy, fun ideas to minimize the amount of waste that occurs from day to day life.
Play dates, dinner parties, or other large social gatherings can take its toll on the environment. Instead of buying paper, plastic, or Styrofoam plates and cups every time you have an event, decide to purchase items that will work for the long term. You already have a designated place for those disposable plates, use that space for reusable products such as a mish-mash collection of ceramic plates and cups or bamboo plates.
Comb through yard sales or secondhand shops to find a fun blend of plates and cups. At such a economical price, you don’t need to be concerned if one gets damaged. Lend them to friends that are hosting events to share some green. If you’re concerned about having unmatched dinnerware, aim for a collection of all-white. They’ll look good together and work in any season.
Another option is bamboo. It grows fast and considered a renewable crop that can be turned into a multitude of products. Plates and cups made from bamboo are the best of both worlds. They’re sturdy enough to last for years. After that, they’re completely biodegradable.
I recently coordinated a wedding where the couple used both of these ideas and the end result was gorgeous! After the wedding they simply re-donated the ceramic dishes back to Goodwill and Salvation Army.
We’ve all been to a party with red plastic cups and a Sharpie marker. There are even songs about them! This method works for helping guests keep track of their drink, but the trash that generates is cringe-worthy. While plastic cups are nice because they won’t shatter like glass, there are other safe alternatives that are not plastic. A collection of reusable cups paired with a beverage dispenser (or two) will go a long way toward eliminating plastic waste.
Claim your cup with these colorful drink bands. They work with a variety of cup sizes. Or let your guests get creative by starting with a blank band and let people make their own. This is a great activity for kids’ parties!
NOBODY likes using plastic utensils. A large collection of reusable utensils will not take up much space in a cupboard or pantry. Gather knives, forks, and spoons in pretty containers like this and they can even be stored in full sight.
If you’re a thrifter or stop at yardsales regularly, start collecting utensils. You don’t need a matched set or extras like dessert forks unless you’re really fancy. If you dislike the idea of used or mismatched utensils for less than $50, you can get a dozen forks, spoons, and knives and you’ll never have to buy plastic utensils again.
I’m a big fan of cloth napkins for everyday home use. They’re affordable, easy to make, and last for several years. Cloth napkins could certainly be used for small or large gatherings.
Linens and decorations
Skip the plastic table coverings, even paper table coverings are lined with plastic, and it’s all going to end up in the trash. Cotton or linen tablecloths are easy to wash and store, and readily available at secondhand shops.
Say yes to flowers. Greenery and flowers are nature’s decorations. Use them to dress up your party, then toss them into the compost when you’re done.
Don’t give party bags. These are popular, of course, at kids’ parties, and often come filled with cheap plastic knick-knacks bought solely for the purpose of fulfilling some weird social obligation. Let me tell you as a mom, we don’t like them! If you must give party attendees something, wrap up a book, a small puzzle, or a cool set of pencils. At least those things will be used and they’re not made of plastic.
You can rent just about anything you’d need to host a party. Chairs, tables, table linens, utensils, china, and beverage dispensers are just some of the things you can borrow. For large, occasional social events (weddings or anniversary celebrations) renting might be the perfect solution. Check out my Facebook page for current party rentals! If you don’t see something you like, don’t be afraid to ask me to find something unique just for your gathering.