Contributor: Rochelle Campbell
It’s that time of year again, when many of us reflect and decide upon what our priorities will be for the upcoming 12 months. Sometimes the things we decide we want to do are small, like being kinder to the pesky next-door neighbour. Or, they could be larger, such as making an effort to lose weight. Or, to walk more lightly on the earth.
However, how do we wrap our minds around a large aspiration? In the case of being eco-conscious, that’s easy – throw a zero-waste party!
Here are some handy tips to help you get started.
– Shop Bulk –
Grocery shopping can be the most daunting part of this undertaking simply because you know you will come home with bags, cans, things in plastic bags, etc. This can be alleviated by shopping in bulk from stores. Ideally, stores that allow you to bring your own containers and fill them with exactly what you need. This is why we started here with buying the party food as opposed to creating a party food list.
It’s better to go shopping and see what is available from your local, or nearest, bulk store. Then, formulate a menu based on seasonality, freshness and, of course, availability!
– Party Food –
Based on what you find, you can make a myriad of grain and cheese-based salads, both hot and cold, for your party. Or, for even more versatility, you can set up a salad mix-in’s bar and have 7-10 options available for your guests to create their own signature dish. All the while, you’re maintaining your zero-waste party mantra because this too is served in bulk.
Depending upon your dietary habits, for appetizers, you can offer an all vegetarian/vegan menu to walk the most lightly on the planet.
– Serving ware –
This is the easy part. Raid your cupboards and pantry for all of those odds and ends pieces of plate ware, glassware, and serving utensils. You know that box, or drawer full of items you received from your Mum, or sundry family members to help you be a better catch? Yeah, that stuff. Pull it out! For your zero-waste party, no disposables can be used.
As for napkins, pull out your cloth napkins. If you don’t have any, raid your linen closet and pull out all of the hand towels you own. You can even ask a friend (or, two or three!) to borrow some for this special event.
– Decoration –
Easy peasy this one. Seek out fun things in your own home that you can use to add ambiance to your party space. If you have an herbal garden, distribute the pots around the party room. You can also pull out decorations you’ve used for a previous party. You get the idea – don’t buy anything new! However, if you do, make sure you will use it again, and again, over the next several years.
– Cleaning Hands –
We all know the loo takes a hit during a party. So, to help minimise some of the traffic, have a Green Cleaning Station. This is simply a small area with one, or two, spray bottles of an eco-friendly hand sanitiser, which you can make yourself.
Here’s a very simple recipe:
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
- 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol (as close to 99% as you can find)
- 2 tsp Baking Soda
- 5 to 6 drops of your preferred essential oil (such as: Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lemon, Sage, Thyme, etc.), (Or, as many drops as are pleasing to your nose – be mindful that tea tree and thyme essential oils are quite strong.)
(Psst! This recipe can be used as an all-purpose cleaner after your party’s over, too!)
– Drinks & Beverages –
This may end up being the easiest, and must fun, part of your Zero-Waste Party!
If you’re a beer fan, you may already own a growler (or, maybe a few of them!). If so, you already know where you can get them filled for your soiree.
For those who are not beer aficionados, a growler is a glass, stainless steel, or a ceramic airtight container (mini keg) that breweries, and some bars, will fill for you. This way, you don’t have to buy an entire keg to experience a beer that does not come in a bottle, or a can. (Not that we want one that does).
You can make your own fruit infused water in bottles you already own, or can borrow. Or, herb-infused waters like Bea Johnson. You can also make your own fresh squeezed juices as well using your own imagination, and what’s in season, as your muse.
Hosting a Zero Waste party doesn’t have to be an isolated event. Being a zero-waster, or a minimalist, is a mindset and a lifestyle. While it’s currently quite chic to give a nod to the Zero Waste way, there’s a ton of good that comes from living life simply.
So, get planning and have a great Zero Waste New Year’s Eve party!