Earth month has ended…or so the calendar says. In reality, though, it’s always Earth month, right? It’s Earth LIFE! Personally, I try to make small changes every day. Yesterday I learned how to make homemade pasta! Yes! No more plastic bagged pasta for me! Pair that with some fresh veggies from my local farmers’ market and we had ourselves a nice zero waste dinner, but more on food later.
Today, per the request of Adriene, I want to talk about PARTIES!
I love entertaining. I truly enjoy getting my house sparkling clean (with my homemade cleaners, of course), cooking all day and then inviting a bunch of friends over to destroy it all.
Kidding! Kind of…
BUT with parties come single-use plates, cups, forks, etc, and that makes me sad. Yes, it is easier to just throw everything in the trash at the end of the party and call it a day, but at what cost? I have found some easy ways to have a great party with little to no waste.
Instead of plastic, paper or styrofoam cups, try glass jars! Most of us don’t have enough glasses for a big party, but we recycle perfectly useful glass jars all the time. Jam jars, pepper jars, peanut butter jars. Clean those babies out, peel the labels off and you have some cute party glasses! The fact that they are all different sizes, textures and colors just adds to the charm and helps people remember which glass is theirs!
Instead of plastic or paper plates, try thrift store finds! I host a big Thanksgiving dinner at my house. We usually have 40+ people. I did not have 40+ plates, so I went thrifting! It was like a fun treasure hunt! Finding pretty plates that don’t have families and bringing them home made my heart happy. Now I have 50 beautiful, unique plates that I keep stored away until I need them.
Instead of plastic utensils, try real silverware! Why are we so afraid of real silverware?? I was guilty of this for years. I would hoard plastic forks and spoons from fast food restaurants to use for my parties. Y’all. Washing silverware is not hard. Glad I finally learned that lesson. I was lucky enough to be gifted two sets of silverware at my wedding, but if you find yourself short a few forks, thrifting would work for that as well! I display them upright in vases by the plates. Grab and go!
Instead of paper napkins, try cloth! I used to think that cloth napkins were only for special occasions or really fancy people. What a silly thing to think. Cloth napkins don’t have to be fancy. I have a hodgepodge of blue, green, white, patterned and plain napkins that I keep in a basket on my counter for easy access. I have another basket on top of my dryer for the dirty napkins. Once you get into the habit, cloth napkins work for parties and everyday meals. Shout out to YWA team member, Katie, for the cute indigo napkins! You can get your own at her Etsy shop, KatieElliottArt.
Finally, the worst of all offenders…kid’s parties. Plastic-wrapped candy, tiny plastic toys, disposable plastic table cloths. So. Much. Plastic. As the mother of a soon-to-be four year-old, I know that kids get very excited to be handed a goodie bag full of stickers and plastic toys. Then two days later, those plastic toys are added to the mountain of seldom played with party contraband and we’re left to figure out how to dispose of them years later when we can no longer scale the mountain. We’ve done this to ourselves, parents. I share the blame.
Instead of plastic bags filled with plastic toys, try DIY!
For my daughter’s third birthday, I was determined to hand out zero waste goodie bags. First, I started with the bags themselves. I grabbed some t-shirts with cute designs from a clothing swap my girlfriends and I had (A great way to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank or supporting fast fashion!) and I turned them into little bags with my super basic sewing skills. I used ribbon scraps I had laying around to secure them and had myself some unique cloth bags. If the idea of sewing scares you, there are some great no-sew bag making patterns out there.
Next I set out to fill them with non-plastic items. Some great ideas are bamboo flutes, small stuffed animals, small wooden toys, homemade candies or cookies in reusable containers, crayons and tiny succulents. I was at a party last weekend where they gave all the kids wildflower seeds! My daughter was so excited to plant them!
As I said in my last post, I am not a fancy gal. My plates, napkins and little glass jars don’t match and my handmade goodie bags were all different colors and sizes, but again, I say that adds to the charm! Besides the fact that using less plastic saves the planet, switching to reusable party supplies also saves you money. It’s a win/win. And, who knows? You may inspire some of your party-goers to do the same.
Party on, my friends!
Connect with her on Instagram @the_zerowastejourney