The holidays are truly the most wasteful time of the year. It’s estimated that between thanksgiving and new years 25% more waste is produced. That’s about 1 million extra tons a week. Have you ever thought about how to host a low waste party? The waste may not entirely be coming from where you think. Decorations and single-use dishes/napkins play a huge role in the waste produced, but I would argue that food waste is the biggest culprit during the holiday season.
With a lot fewer people travelling this holiday season, more people will be hosting or attending gatherings and parties in people’s homes which only encourages wastefulness. This guide will help those who are hosting this year to keep their waste to a minimum without sacrificing the joy of the Holidays.
This guide will be helpful whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, or even birthday parties! All of these tips can be applied!
How to Host a Low Waste Party:
Food waste may be one of the farthest things from people’s minds during the holidays, but it poses a huge threat. Food waste is actually a contributor to climate change. (Read more about that here)
So how can we go about reducing our food waste?
A) Be aware of the number of guests attending and shop accordingly
Nobody wants to under-prepare food for their guests. The solution is usually making too much food which leads to leftovers and more often than not, the discarding of the leftovers.
Try to get RSVP’s in before you start shopping for food so you can have a better idea of how much you’ll need of everything in order to reduce the waste.
B) Send leftovers home with guests
If you’re hosting a party, it may be overwhelming to be stuck with all the leftovers. Divide up the leftovers at the end of the party and send them home with your guests.
You could even ask your guests to bring their own containers or, if you trust them, lend them your own reusable containers!
C) Cook more plant-based
Meat has a very large carbon footprint and an overall negative impact on the planet. By preparing more plant-based dishes you are actively reducing your footprint on the earth.
D) Shop locally
Food that has been grown locally has a smaller carbon footprint because they have had to travel less distance to get to you.
E) Buy in bulk
Try to buy your produce naked and not wrapped in plastic. If you’re serving a salad, opt to buy the ingredients naked and not the pre-made salads, etc.
This will save so much plastic and overall waste related to food.
Depending on the occasion, there can be lots of decor needed, or not as much. I’d say Christmas and birthday partied can be the most wasteful when it comes to decorating.
I would encourage you to use well-made, reusable decorations like ceramics instead of plastic, disposable items like banners with a specific age, or confetti which is a microplastic.
The other best items for decorating are natural items you can find in your backyard! Leaves, dried flowers, floral center pieces, pumpkins, and so on! Items like leaves and flowers can be composted when done and pumpkins can be eaten or composted as well!
3. Dishes and silverware
I know it’s convenient to use plastic utensils, paper/styrofoam plates, and disposable napkins. But it’s only convenient for you. It’s not very convenient for the planet.
Take a little extra time at the end of the night or the next morning to just wash the dishes. I mean, that’s why we have dishes in the first place, right? To use and re-use them over and over again. Enlist a friend to help you out. Most guests will gladly help the ost clean up after the meal.
Opt for reusable, cloth napkins as well to keep waste to a minimum. Plus, they’re a lot classier too.
4. Makeup clean up easy
Set up some cleanup stations to help your guests properly dispose of things.
These stations can include:
- A laundry basket for dirty napkins and rags
- A compost bin for unfinished veggies and vegetable waste (or fruits)
- A recycling bin for any glass or aluminum drink cans and other cans
- A garbage can for other waste
- And a designated spot for dirty dishes
Hosting a low waste party doesn’t have to be hard or take away any joy from the reason for celebrating. All it takes is a little planning ahead and a little conscious effort.
That being said, these are my tips on how to host a low waste party! I hope it helps you in all your hosting endeavours this year and in the years to follow!
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