Birthdays, parties and events can be so much fun, right? Wouldn’t they be so much better if we could have fun but also leave less of an impact on the planet whilst enjoying these events? For those of you who have not heard, we have just celebrated our first anniversary and the grand opening of our Canggu store. It was a small yet intimate celebration where we had a grazing vegan spread, mostly with homemade items which will be available soon in our store. One of the things that made us very happy was the fact that we made ZERO PLASTIC WASTE from the party!
So we thought to share some of the ideas we used and useful tips to plan for an event without making any plastic waste and cutting down the amount of waste altogether. Everything is simple and does not require rocket science, all it takes is your commitment to making your next event free of single-use plastic.
At the initial planning stage, present the concept of zero waste to your team and everyone who might be involved in carrying out the event. You can share why it is important and get everyone to commit to the idea. You would want to get the zero-waste concept into the initial planning stage of the event.
Send out RSVP for your event to get a good idea of exactly how many people you will be providing food and drinks for. It will cut down the amount of food waste from left-over significantly.
As you send out the invitations, advise the attendees that the event is applying the zero-waste concept and they will be asked to take part in various ways:
- Ask them to bring reusable water bottles. You can provide a water refill station (with dispenser or jugs) and avoid single-use water bottles.
- Ask them to bring their own reusable cutlery and straw to avoid single-use ones.
- Advise them that no plastic bags for purchases will be provided so they should bring their own.
- Advise them that recycling bins and stations will be in place and for patrons to kindly use the bins properly.
Utilize electronic media for invitations and marketing instead of printing out flyers and brochures, which are only used for a short period of time and then thrown away. This will reduce the amount of paper waste produced by your event.
Most of the times, the biggest waste generator comes from the food & beverage section. If your event involves serving food and drinks to the patrons, then here are some things you can prepare to avoid adding more waste to the landfill:
- Provide refill water stations, you may even ask people to donate money to refill water if required.
- Instead of single-use plastic cutleries and straw, provide reusable stainless steel or bamboo versions. Only offer the patrons when they ask, especially straw.
- Use cleaned banana leaf instead of oil paper/takeaway paper which are usually lined with plastic.
- Whenever possible, serve smaller portions or serve it family-style to avoid food waste. Not everyone eats everything served on the table, therefore it is best if they can pick what they will eat and as much as they need.
- Consider contracting the service of zero-waste party caterer that provides cutlery and tableware rentals. For events in Bali, Plastik Detox is available for this service.
- If you must use single-use, then try to shop for a compostable version. Be careful when choosing items and be mindful with the word ‘biodegradable’. There are many products on the market that implies they are not plastic or biodegradable, but in the end, they actually break down to microplastics and last for years too.
DEALING WITH WHAT’S LEFT BEHIND
You have briefed everyone, sent them reminders, but alas, things might not go perfectly and there is still some waste left to deal with afterward. You still can do your part and make sure that whatever left behind is handled properly:
- Contact or rent a zero-waste station from your local waste management services to provide compost and recycling bins at your event. If your next event is in Bali, you may consider contacting Eco Bali Recycling or Kembali.
- Use bio-bags like hesin bags or plant-based bags for compost and recycling bins.
- Find local composter and recycling vendor to drop off waste if the venue does not offer a solution for recycling or composting. Or, you can always hire a waste management service to take care of the post-processing of the waste.