Joining the zero-waste lifestyle is one of the best ways to bring a positive change in our world. But at times, it can be difficult to avoid single-use items and the temptation to produce more waste than needed can be high. This often happens when organizing a party.
Paper napkins and plastic cups are the norm for these occasions and, oftentimes, at the end of the event, we find our bins overflowing with trash. But this doesn’t have to be the case! Here is our complete guide on how to zero waste during your next home gathering.
How to organize a zero waste party at home
GET EVERYONE ON BOARD
There is no point in organizing a zero-waste event if the ones you invited are not aware of it. You may have done a great job in avoiding all types of single-use items but, if your guests arrive with cakes packed in plastic and gifts wrapped in tons of paper and ribbons, the whole party will lose its purpose, right?
Make sure to tell everyone who’s joining you're hosting a zero-waste event and remember. Not everyone is familiar with this lifestyle so be ready to answer questions and give directions, we have a simple guide on easy tips to adopt a zero waste lifestyle. For instance, people may want to collaborate by bringing something. In this case, you can give a few zero-waste suggestions, such as some CDs or Spotify playlist to play during the event or homemade food to bring in reusable containers.
THE PROBLEM IS NOT (ONLY) PLASTIC
Guess what? Single-use paper pollutes too. At times, it does even more than plastic! Being zero-waste means avoiding single-use items, not only plastic.
When in doubt, always think about what people used a couple of centuries ago. Instead of paper napkins, use fabric ones. Yes, fabric clothes are a thing and they’ve been around for years! Put them in a nice basket at the center of the table and let people use them.
Opt for steel cutleries, glasses made of glass, and ceramic plates, if its a picnic check out our Bamboo Cutlery Set. If you don’t have enough, tell people to bring their own! You can turn this into a contest, asking people to bring the most eccentric cup they can think of.
Of course, when it comes to invitations, embrace the modern world and send emails and WhatsApp messages.
HOW TO ZERO-WASTE FOOD
When it comes to food there are several ways in which you can cut your waste. For instance, you can cook your own snacks and desserts with food waste. Ok, ok, this may sound gross at first but hear us out.
Every day supermarkets all over the world throw away an impressive amount of food that is still perfectly edible. Companies may decide to throw a carrot in the bin because it’s not perfectly straight and bakeries are forced to make new baked goods every day and get rid of the old ones.
This is a pity as most of this food can be repurposed into new delicious recipes. Luckily, there are plenty of organizations saving these foods and directly giving them to whoever wants to take them home. Taste Before You Waste, Too Good To Go, Karma and Olio are just some of the organizations now operating in Europe.
If this is not for you, no reason to despair. There are still many other ways you can avoid waste while cooking. For instance, you can buy your ingredients from your local market or shop in eco-stores offering their clients the option to bring their own containers instead of selling ingredients such as tea and coffee in plastic and paper.
Are you backing? Then our Reusable Silicone Baking Mat is the best option.
When it comes to drinks, you can visit a local winery and bring your bottles to fill up. alternatively, you can make your own lemonade, juices, and smoothies.
THE RIGHT BIN FOR THE RIGHT TRASH
Not all waste is bad. For instance, food scraps can be given to animals or turned into liquid energy for your plants. Make sure you have proper trash bins at your party so that people know at all times where to throw away their waste.
For instance, you can have a trash bin for organic material and leave a sign on it reading ‘Soon to be compost’. You can also add a basket for dirty fabric clothes so that people will know where to put them after they use them.
Lastly, you may have a bin for non-recyclable trash. At the beginning of the party tell everyone, the goal is to keep that one empty and see how it goes.
We also have some guides on recycling, in case you want to learn more about how to recycle in Germany, Spain or the Netherlands.
MAKE PEACE WITH THE FACT THAT THE TRASH BIN WON'T BE EMPTY
Let’s face it. You may have done your very best but despite all the effort, some things will inevitably end up in that trash bin. From your friend’s cigarette butts to the guest who thought that single-use paper was allowed, this is almost inevitable.
This is ok. In our society, being completely zero-waste is basically impossible, and, as with everything in life, what really matters is the message we spread and the effort we put into the causes we believe in.
So, even if that trash bin doesn’t remain empty by the end of the night, always remember that you have done a great job regardless!
Despite the name, being zero-waste doesn’t mean avoiding all types of trash. It’s a simple lifestyle that seeks to limit our waste as much as possible. As for everything in life, moderation is the key to long-term success.
HOW DID IT GO?
Alright! You now hosted your event and hopefully, everything went smoothly. So… What about now? This is a great time to sit down and reflect on how much you saved from trash and whether things can be improved for your next gathering.
Was it difficult or surprisingly easy? Would you consider hosting another zero-waste event? If yes, what would you do differently?
These questions will help you get a clearer picture of your experience while also making you realize your positive impact on the environment. You can also consider asking a few of these questions during the party to open up a dialogue about the zero-waste lifestyle and spread the message.
Who knows? Maybe next time you’ll be the one to be invited to a zero-waste event!