Melissa's Cuisine: Preparing for a Party

Friday, September 09, 2011

Preparing for a Party

As a member of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers community, I have been chosen to take part in The GLAD Products Company's challenge to reduce landfill waste.  Each week through-out September, I'll be sharing with you what I've learned as I take part in this challenge.  Along the way we'll talk about what I've learned after speaking with a Waste Management Expert, how the goal of creating less waste affected how I prepared for a party, how to incorporate my learnings into your everyday life, and how successful my one bag party was.

One of the goals of this challenge is to host a One Bag party and only create one bag of landfill-bound waste.  I'll be sharing my preparations with you and I really hope that you can use some of what you learn to reduce the waste your family generates.

Earlier this week I had an opportunity to speak with Keiko, a Waste Management Expert. She offered a lot of insight into how to plan a party while reducing waste and then how to incorporate that into everyday living. A lot of what we talked about really makes sense, some of it was basic common sense while other topics were newer to me.  Here are some ways you can prepare for a party while keeping the amount of waste created minimal.  You can incorporate these ideas into your everyday life too, not just party planning!

*As you prepare for a party, you probably send out invitations.  Typically these are in some form of postcard or a cute little card sent in the mail.  However, this also creates mail waste.  After receiving their invitation, people often throw both the postcard, or card and envelope in the trash.  (Though hopefully they do choose to recycle instead!)  One way to reduce waste before your party even starts is to send e-invites.  There are many websites that allow you to send e-cards, you can send a quick email, or even create a Facebook event (which I did).
 *Remember to ask for RSVPs from your guests.  This will also help decrease waste as you won't prepare for 50 people at your party and only have 30 show up. 

*When you go shopping to buy items for your event, keep in mind that you want to reduce waste:

-Look for items that have minimal packaging.  How much of the package can be recycled instead of thrown away?  Avoid products that have excessive packaging such as a styrofoam interior wrapped in a plastic bag and then in a box.

-Buy produce.  This is especially good if you can purchase from your farmer's market!  Produce=no waste!

 -Buy items in bulk.  You create less waste with one large bag of potato chips versus three smaller ones.

-Avoid individual servings.  Try a punch bowl or even 2 Liters of pop instead of juice pouches or pop cans.

-Use real dishes and silverware instead of paper plates and plastic utensils.  If you don't have enough place settings, look into renting (it's relatively cheap and some places will even wash the dishes for you!), borrowing, or buying items at a thrift shop.

 *Try not to buy decorations.  Instead, re-use items you already have, borrow from a friend, or make something from items you already have on hand.  If you do buy something, try to find decorations you can reuse.

I'm looking forward to incorporating these ideas into my One Bag party as well as future parties I host.  Do you have any more suggestions for how to reduce waste at a party?

As part of the Glad Brand Ambassador Program through Foodbuzz, I received Glad products, a trash can/recycling bin, a composting bin, and a stipend to cover my expenses. Even though I was compensated for these posts, the opinions contained in the post are all my own. 
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