Who doesn't love the fun and excitement of hosting a party that brings friends and family together in celebration? But, while you pull out all the stops in giving your guests a good time, the festive decorations, food and drink can often put a lot of pressure on the environment and produce a ton of waste.
Use this guide to throw the greenest shindig in town.
1. Cook with restraint
Organising food for a large number of people can often result in a lot of waste. So, be sure to plan your menu and portions well in advance and buy only the ingredients that you need. Whether you're cooking at home or ordering food, have a few dishes rather than an elaborate spread. Encourage your guests to go in for seconds and let them know your goal of keeping all waste to a minimum.
2. Get your guests involved
Inform your guests at the very start of your intention to keep all waste to a minimum and tell them how they can help you achieve your goal. Let them know that they have an important role to play in helping you recycle and be eco-friendly. This keeps them invested in the party and makes them value their contribution.
3. Shop local
Whether it's decor or food, there are plenty of items that can be sourced locally from small entrepreneurs who will surely value your patronage. A good place to start is with your menu. So, look around for a local pastry expert, cheese maker or farmer and chances are you'll get your hands on the freshest, seasonal flavours. It is also a guaranteed way to reduce the amount of energy required to get food on the table.
4. Say no to disposable tableware
We've known of parties where guests have been requested to bring their own reusable tableware. What a great way to get your guests invested in your eco-friendly theme! But, if that's not your thing, why not use real cutlery? Mismatched colours and materials are acceptable and fit in well with the sustainable vibe of your do. If you're throwing a large party, the options for reusable or biodegradable tableware are many. Cities like Bangalore even offer dinnerware rental services such as Rent-A-Cutlery and Adamya Chetana which could completely remove plastic waste from your party.
5. Opt for reusable decor
Tinsel, balloons, and plastic baubles are all single-use items that only add to your garbage. Natural decor is not only eco-friendly but also lends your party a chic, stylish look. Deck the halls with greenery, terracotta lamps, candles, or fabric buntings that can be reused over the years. Fruits, dry leaves and fresh flowers make beautiful table decor. Go out and find inspiration from the living world. Or, if you have time on your hands and are up for some extra creativity, make your own upcycled decor with old bottles, jars and other bits and bobs lying around the house. Store away your decor carefully so you can reuse it for parties during the year.
6. Segregate your waste
Build waste segregation into your party planning from the very start. On the day of the event, set out a separate bin to catch all organic waste such as food scraps, fruit peels and veggie bits. Have another bin for recyclable waste such as bottles, cartons and plastics. Label the bins clearly and inform your guests to make use of them.
7. Have a plan for your leftovers
Every party, no matter how well planned, will produce some leftovers. You can handle this in three ways. For small, intimate gatherings, request all guests to bring their own boxes to take home some of the leftover food. For larger events, avail the services of social enterprises such as Robinhood Army, Roti Bank, Feeding India and No Food Waste who help deliver excess food from your event to the hungry. Alternatively, arrange for your waste to be professionally managed so that none of it reaches the landfill.
8. Green rides
We all know that parking space is a rare commodity in cities today. Why not encourage your guests to choose eco-friendly modes of transportation to get to the venue? They could opt to carpool or use public transport to save fuel.
Featured image credit: Mauricio Messa.