You may recall that a couple weeks ago we hosted an ecofriendly, clean living party with the goal of only producing one bag of landfill-bound trash. If you are catching up, you can read about the party here and here.
We were extremely successful in our mission and I thought that today I would share a few tips on hosting an ecofriendly party that is focused on reducing waste without creating a lot of extra work for you. Grab your post-consumer recycled party hat and have a seat.
1. Ditch paper plates, plastic silverware and styrofoam cups in favor of real dishes. We always use real dishes and silverware. Hiding in our attics is a bin of melamine plates, plastic cups and inexpensive white cloth napkins. When we host BBQs, parties and other outdoor events, we lug out the plastic ware. If the party calls for nicer dishes, we grab out the set that we received for our wedding. Why not get some use out of them!
2. Use your meal plan to your advantage. Who says that you need to make a fancy meal? Inventory what you already have on hand and plan to use inexpensive items found in bulk bins or that are available in recyclable or reusable containers. Avoid buying over processed, highly packaged foods that are devoid of nutrition and flavor. Everyone loves a simple home cooked meal.
3. Choose in season and local (if possible) produce. No clean eating meal is complete without fresh food; however, feeding specialty or out of season produce to a crowd can break the bank. Instead opt for in season or frozen produce as the base of your meal. For instance, using romaine instead of field greens will save lots of money. Opting for thawed frozen raspberries in your vinaigrette instead of fresh will give the same flavor for a fraction of the cost. Swapping grated carrots in lieu of more expensive red peppers will add color and crunch to your salad.
4. DIY saves money and resources. Make your own decorations and party favors. Allan used regular household items to make the piñata that we had at our party. Also, at the end of the night I handed out half-loaves of freshly baked banana zucchini bread and extra cake to our guests instead of packaged goodies. I was already baking the bread for the party and it really didn’t take me much longer to make a few extra loaves.
5. Go paperless. We are in the electronic age – take advantage of it. There are lots of sites, like Facebook and Evite, that allow you to send electronic invitations to your guests, making it easier for them to RSVP and for you to get in touch with everyone who was invited.
6. Get your guests involved. Let your guests in on your plan to host an ecofriendly party and make it fun for them to further your cause. Don’t have budget to purchase reusable plates? Invite guests to bring their own plate and entice them to use their plate to bring home leftovers. Have a contest to see who can create the most creative recycled gift wrap. Or, ask for donations to a worthy cause in lieu of gifts.
7. Encourage recycling and composting. Make it easy for guests to know where to dispose of used items by setting up a waste center that is well labeled. We used cardboard and paper from our recycling bin to create signs to instruct guests where to put their food waste vs. recyclables vs. trash.
If you are interested in clean living and entertaining, check out the following posts: