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Make it yours without making waste

2018-02-05 12:00 PM | Anonymous

How to plan a zero waste event to remember

We all want to throw an awesome event that our guests will enjoy. Why not create a sustainable example for your event-goers as well? It’s easy to show off your commitment to the environment while sharing earth-friendly practices so even more zero waste events will follow! Here are a few ways you can make more memories, not waste, at any function.

1.     Plan ahead

Sometimes it’s okay to bother your guests a little bit. In order to cut down on food waste, make sure you know how exactly many people are planning on attending and what their dietary restrictions are.

2.     Use evites instead of paper invitations

In our digital world, it gets easier every day to plan and share events online. Plus, if you need to make any last minute updates to the time and venue, you can easily get the word out instead of hunting down paper flyers and invitations. Facebook events, EventBrite, and Evite are all easy (and free!) sites you can use to set up your event and invite friends and family, while scheduling manager sites like Doodle can help you and your guests find a time that works for everyone.

3.     Ask people to bring tupperware for leftovers

Even with the best kind of planning beforehand, chances are, you’ll still have some leftovers. Asking people to bring containers to bring food back home ensures it isn’t going to waste. Plus, who doesn’t love some free food?!

4.     Plan a low waste menu

When possible, make homemade dips and cut up veggies, fruits, cheese, and other items yourself rather than buying plastic appetizer trays and foods packaged in plastic.

5.     Work with what you have

At the venue, try working with what you have during event set-up. Ditch plastic table covers for reusable cloth covers, and collaborate with others to see what kind of homemade decorations you can create. Chances are, a lot of your guests may have mason jars, string lights, and tea candles lying around that can create a cozy event atmosphere in just a few minutes!

6.     Rent!

If you are in need of more dishes, napkins, tablecloths, tables, chairs, or even dresses, don’t worry–all these items are easy to rent. In fact, you’ll find a lot of options in the ReUSE Minnesota directory, like Apres Party and Tent Rentals, Bride to Be Consignment, Brides of France, and Hejny Rental.

7.     Use reusable dining ware

Instead of purchasing single-use cups, plates, and silverware, bring your own or rent reusable dining ware. Let's be honest, no one likes eating off of plastic utensils. In fact, it's been shown that people think food tastes better when eaten off stainless or other "real" utensils. Depending on the size of your event, you could also ask guests to bring their mugs, water bottles, and more.

8.     Cut down on party favors

Do you ever get little trinkets (like stress balls, mini flashlights, bottle openers) from events that inevitably end up in your junk drawer? Instead of passing out gift bags full of stuff people likely aren’t going to use, think of ways you can share the party experience. Having a few polaroid cameras onhand or setting up a photobooth can provide guests with a simple souvenir and a unique way to remember the night.

9.     Ask for experience driven gifts or donations

If you’re hosting a wedding or birthday celebration, make it clear to guests beforehand that you aren’t expecting physical gifts. You could ask guests to donate to your favorite charity or nonprofit, or ask for things like cooking classes, concert tickets, or membership passes.

10. Communicate with guests!

Clearly mark the recycling bins and compost bins. Hint: making the trash bin smaller than the others can help people think twice about where items need to go!

Zero-waste events definitely aren’t zero-fun (sorry, we had to). Let us know if you have any other ideas we can add, or want to share how you created a successful zero waste event for a guest blog post!

Reuse Minnesota was founded in 2012 and is a member-based nonprofit that supports repair, resale, and rental businesses, bringing visibility to the reuse sector as a means to lower our state's impact on the environment.

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