It’s summertime folks, and you know what that means — family, friends, fellowship and of course, food. As you’re spending more time outdoors with the ones you love, we’ve got five eco-friendly tips that’ll help you cut down on plastic waste without cutting the fun out of your next backyard cookout.
Make it a B.Y.O.P. affair.
Ever been to a bring your own plate party? If not, start the trend. If you’re concerned about appearing uncouth, educate your guests on the Plastic Free July Challenge. For those who feel a bit weird about bringing their own dinnerware, consider purchasing eco-friendly plates for them. Upcycled, sugarcane and palm leaf plates — are all made from biodegradable and compostable material ranging from eucalyptus pulp to sugar cane.
Let them all eat … with their fingers.
Hors d’oeuvres anyone? Simplify your backyard cookout set up by firing up the barbecue grill and serving small bites or finger foods to eliminate the need for utensils, and in most cases, plates. If a sit-down dinner is more your style, shoot for biodegradable utensils like bamboo , wooden cutlery sets or cornstarch utensils, all of which are great examples of less waste, energy consumption and carbon emissions.
Let your guests know that water will be provided just not in plastic bottles. Instead have them bring their own reusable bottles, while you conjure up a fruit-infused elixir to share. No time to for infused water, opt for aluminum can drinks, which are easier to recycle than plastic bottles.
Borrow what’s missing.
If you need a few more things, no need to purchase extras and add to the supply chain of waste. Instead, check with party goers to see if they’ll let you borrow what you’re missing. Most will have extra tables and chairs among other things that could prevent you from buying something that won’t be used very often. For a list of one-time use items that make great loaners check out our blog The Case for Borrowing.
Glean inspiration from the great outdoors.
Cookout decorations should be casual and fuss-free. Scope out your backyard for anything present in nature that will allow for a quick centerpiece or pick up some sustainable flowers from your local farmer’s market for a little added pizzaz.
Prioritize the planet over plastic.
When you tell people why you’re cutting plastic out of the party, most will be happy to get on board with your mission. So, whether you’re borrowing from neighbors or asking guests to bring something to the cookout, you’ll ultimately save time, money, resources— and the planet in the long run.