Wailin’ Wednesday: How to Throw a Zero-Waste Dinner Party
Not only is October Sustainability Month, but we are mid-way through Waste Reduction Week – so the sheer confluence of these two things should inspire us to be sustainable superhumans, right?
Wrong. You can’t expect to overhaul your habits and practices overnight. Living a more environmentally sustainable life takes a lot of thought and time. But baby steps in the right direction will amount to great leaps towards a sustainable lifestyle! We’ve all got to start somewhere.
Autumn’s here (cue the Hawksley Workman song), and with the change of season comes fall suppers with friends and family. Hosting zero-waste dinner parties are becoming increasingly popular. They not only do the Earth (and your wallet) some good, you’re also inspiring productive conversations about sustainability with your guests. And who knows? Maybe the next time they’re planning a party, they’ll use some of the eco-friendly practices they learned at your gathering. It’s like paying it forward for the environment!
Easy Steps to Host a Zero-Waste Dinner Party
1. Look at the number of people who have RSVPed and buy your food amounts accordingly to minimize the potential of good food being wasted after everyone’s bellies are full.
Or, if you’re planning to cook up a smorgasbord anyway, ask your guests to bring a reusable container to take leftovers home in.
2. Buy in bulk and use reusable bags. Little cloth bags with cloth ties will work well for dry goods. Not to mention, cloth bags look really cute all stacked up in your basket. You can even try making your own out of old bed sheets!
Use mesh bags for produce so the cashier can see the labels. Yes, there are stickers on most produce at the grocery store so that’s why going to a local farmers’ market to grab your fruits and veggies is an excellent idea, as they come unlabeled.
3. Ask your local grocer if the store supports shoppers bringing jars to transport your wet food from over the counter, like meat or cheese. If not, you may just have to pay a little extra when it’s being weighed.
4. You can add fruits or herbs to refillable water containers to make refreshing beverages for your guests. Find local beer and wine vendors who will refill growlers for beer and screw-top wine bottles.
5. Find creative ways to decorate your table using upcycled glass containers (maybe with water and a sprig of fresh rosemary for a delightful aroma), fallen leaves and branches from the yard, or seasonal gourds.
6. Use washable napkins and tablecloths, along with reusable plates, cutlery and cups.
Bonus tip: If you serve straight onto dinner plates, it saves water from extra cleaning, and it allows for a chance for you to impress your guests with beautiful plate presentations.
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