With temperatures constantly dropping below freezing, ‘tis the season to stay indoors and keep warm and toasty. But just because you’re indoors doesn’t mean you can’t have fun—that’s what winter parties are for.
There’s a lot to do when you’re throwing a party; from preparing food to decorating, inviting guests, and hosting, you have enough on your plate. It’s only after everyone leaves that it becomes clear that your hosting duties aren’t quite over: there’s the cleanup to deal with, and depending on all the waste from the party, it can be quite the challenge.
But with these easy-to-follow tips, you can handle setting up for a party and cleaning up like a pro, and even party responsibly—recycle waste items and reduce waste from a night of fun that ends up in landfills. Check out this recycling guide for winter parties:
Party with an Eco-Theme
Anyone can throw a dinner party; so why not kick it up with a theme? Trends these days point towards eco-friendly and green living, so think about incorporating that in your party. We’re not just talking about throwing a “trashy fashion” party, pun intended. A more unique route would be a potluck dinner where everyone brings a dish cooked entirely with almost-expiring ingredients in their fridge. Not only will you avoid wasting perfectly good food, but you can also get a jumpstart on long-overdue recycling of containers and even opening up space in your fridge. Now, who doesn’t love a party for a good cause?
Forget Plastic Decorations
From wax coated banners to plastic balloons and other non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle items, party decorations these days come with a lot of waste, and it’s time to change that. Instead of bringing out the usual decorations that just end up in the trash, now’s the time to try something different.
Nature itself has a lot of nice little decorations you can use. With the holidays trailing off, pine cones and needles are still around the corner. You can also add freshly-picked herbs in a grouping of reusable mason jars. The earthy undertones and natural aesthetic are Instagram-worthy, and the materials used aren’t just recyclable, but compostable—so they go back to the earth itself.
Not a fan of earthy vibes? An alternative would be to shop for decorations made out of recycled materials. Look out for items labelled, “made from post-consumer waste”, and you’re one step closer to helping an entire industry save energy and raw materials.
Use Recycled Favors
It’s not a party if guests aren’t taking home favours, and with this unique idea, you won’t have to shell out the extra bucks.
Instead of shopping for little trinkets that will eventually just end up as clutter and later on non-recyclable trash if made out of plastic, why not opt for something more sustainable and budget-friendly? We all have unwanted items that could use a new and better home. You and your guests can swap these items among each other because you know what they say: your trash is someone else’s treasure.
This simple act of recycling and repurposing allows you to reduce the amount of trash you contribute to landfills each year. You can even wrap these gifts in recycled wrappers for more eco-friendly gift-giving.
Ditch Single-Use Plastics
It’s easy to bring out all the fancy china and silverware for an intimate gathering, but when you’re hosting quite the party, it’s tempting to switch to plastic alternatives for easy disposal. The bad news is that single-use plastics such as straws and cutlery are easily the most common garbage that ends up in landfills and even in oceans. We already know that it takes hundreds of years for plastic to degrade, so it’s best to refrain from adding to that.
The good news is that there are alternatives to single-use plastics. You might not be able to replace all of them, but you can always use a mix of durable china that needs some washing and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic cups and straws. With the right colour-coordination and design, this mix-and-match idea won’t ruin the aesthetic of your winter party. A low-impact and environmentally-friendly party is the new definition of fun, especially this season.
From Leftovers to Take Home
Running out of food isn’t really an option in any party, so all good hosts tend to prepare more food than what can actually be consumed. The result is ending up with a ton of leftovers on hand, and without a plan in place, these can easily spoil and go to waste.
To avoid this, it’s best to come prepared with reusable containers. Once your guests are getting ready to leave, you can send them along their way with some take home from the party. This way, nothing goes to waste, and the reusable containers mean that they can easily heat the leftovers in them and even use them for a long time. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Once the party is over, make sure to keep an eye out for the recyclables as you clean up. Wrapping paper, cardboard boxes, and cards belong in the recyclables, so make sure to segregate waste while cleaning up. This will make waste disposal, composting, and repurposing of recycled materials much more efficient.