Whether you’re planning an event for work, friends or family, there are a few things you can do to reduce the garbage that can accumulate before, during and after a gathering.
If you want to avoid the excessive plastic packaging that comes with pre-made meals/dishes/food but don’t think you’ll have time to make all the food yourself, ask for help! Suggest a potluck where everyone can bring a dish, or ask a few people to bring specific dishes.
To avoid the need for disposable dinner wear, if you don’t have enough for the amount of people attending, ask them all to bring their own cloth napkin, plate, bowl, utensils and/or cup. You can also rent dishes from event suppliers. Depending where your event falls on a formal to casual scale, a fun theme can be “anything but a cup” where guests are invited to bring something to drink out of but it can’t be something designed to be drunk out of. If your guests are a bit more formal, you can ask everyone to bring their favourite cup or mug. That can be a great conversation starter as most will have a story attached to their beverage container of choice!
If you don’t have composting set up at the moment, finding a temporary solution for an event is a great idea! Maybe a friend has a green bin or a backyard compost, you can collect all the scraps from cooking and any food waste from the event and bring it over! Toss it all in an old bread bag or large container with a lid and send it home with them if they’re an attendee or drop it off the next day.
It’s common to think you’re a bad host if you run out of food. While the reasons behind that could be a post on its own, for today’s blog, let’s work on a happy medium. Instead of making excess food, have a bunch of non-perishable extras on hand to bulk up your feast throughout the event if needed. This could be trail mix, nuts, crackers, candy, chocolate, things that come in a can, chips, anything that won’t need to be tossed if it doesn’t get opened. That way if you don’t need the extra food, you aren’t left with a bunch of food waste!
If you anticipate there might be a lot of food remaining at the end of the event, you can also invite guests to bring a container to take home leftovers.
There are some tricks to reducing waste without sacrificing a good vibe. A good place to start is looking for second hand décor at thrift stores or online thrift sites like Facebook Marketplace. Try to use decorations that are reusable and not specific to an event or holiday, like customizable letter banners, decorations without a specific theme, or colours that could work for multiple events.
You could also play with edible decorations, gourds are a great option as you can cook and eat them after they’ve served their decorative purpose. The foods you serve could also follow a colour palette to be part of the aesthetic of the event.
Try to swap out traditional plastic decorations for paper. Instead of balloons, you could get paper lanterns, paper fans, or paper pin wheels. Make snowflakes out of paper to hang on the walls or from the ceiling.
Have you been to an event recently that had some nice decorations? Ask if you can rent or borrow them!
What other areas do you struggle to reduce your waste while hosting an event? Let us know!