Dinner & BBQ
Hosting a dinner party or backyard BBQ this summer?
Going waste-free may be easier than you think.
Use an online invitation service such as Evite or Celebrations instead of paper invitations.
If you’re using a caterer, ask them to bring the food in containers you can return or on reusable platters. If you’re making everything yourself, consider packaging waste when you do your grocery shopping. For example, avoid intensely packaged frozen food or individually wrapped items.
Avoid Styrofoam at all costs. Styrofoam is not recyclable and may be leaching nasty chemicals into the food.
Do you have enough reusable plates, cups and silverware to serve your guests? If not, consider borrowing from neighbors (and returning the favor when they host parties.) Or consider buying inexpensive plates and glasses (Goodwill and Bed, Bath and Beyond are good sources) that you’ll use year after year. For larger parties, you may want to rent tableware from a supplier such as Taylor Rental (no washing required!)
If reusable tableware is not a realistic option for you, choose recyclable cups and paper plates made from recycled content. If choosing compostable tableware, remember to compost it!
You might be surprised how many cloth napkins you already have around the house. If you find you need more, a neighbor or Goodwill may have just what you’re looking for. At the end of the night, all the napkins will probably fit into that next load of laundry.
Avoid single-serving beverage containers if possible. Serve drinks in pitchers or kegs or two-liter bottles. If you are using plastic cups, encourage guests to label their cups with a marker. If you do provide single-serving beverages, choose drinks in aluminum cans [hyperlink to green tip Nov.2020], which are readily recycled, rather than glass or plastic. Then be sure to provide a bin to collect them for recycling.
6. Waste Stations:
If your party is a casual one and you know there will be some waste, make it easy for guests to dispose of their items properly. For example, you may want to create “waste stations” where guests can sort their items. Clearly label bins and indicate which items go in which bins. (For example, one bin for recyclables such as beer bottles and plastic cups, one bin with soapy water for reusable plates and silverware, one bin for food scraps and paper napkins.)