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Plastic Free July Challenge Last Day: You Did It, Celebrate!

monolake sunset california

 

(Back to the challenge summary) 

Congratulations! You have completed the 31 Day Plastic Free July Challenge.

A huge thank you from both of us! Maybe you read all our posts, maybe just one. In both cases you made an effort, your supported our work and for that we are extremely grateful. These blog posts will stay on our websites, so anyone can start the challenge anytime. This means that you can still share with your friends!

Let's sum up! We started with the basics: water bottles, straws, packaging. Then we moved onto the kitchen, buying bulk foods, and even gave a shout out to our four legged friends. 3rd week was about deplastifying your bathroom and last week we highlighted some zero waste options for kids, from back to school, to birthday parties, to clothing (we added some stuff for adult clothes, too!)  So, now what?

Well, we definitely hope that your plastic free habits don’t end with July. We hope you found these changes to not only be easy, but to be a little fun, too. Stay strong! Always #RefuseTheStraw and stop the #SingleUseAbuse by not purchasing disposable plastics.

And now you deserve to celebrate your success and reward yourself for being such an awesome, eco-friendly human!

To help you celebrate, here are some AWESOME sustainable tips on how to throw a zero waste summer party. Cocktails, barbecue, picnic or soiree, here are some zero waste ideas that will make your guests happy.

PARTIES ALWAYS END UP WITH LOTS OF GARBAGE

party garbage in the park

Historically, picnics and barbecues have perpetuated the single use plastic culture. Riddled with styrofoam plates, cups, plastic dining utensils, and of course, the dreaded plastic straw. Cold drinks get stuffed in ice that was stuffed in plastic, now cooled in a giant styrofoam cooler you got at the gas station for $5 and is just leaching chemicals into the ice water. Yummy.


HOW ABOUT A ZERO WASTE PARTY?

champagne zero waste party

Preparation is key in avoiding disposable plastics. Fail to plan? Plan to fail!

Good Food

Adult guests are generally underwhelmed by a bowl of chips and dip. Anyone can do that. It’s not healthy, and it just makes you feel bad the next day. Instead, purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re colorful, beautiful, delicious and make you feel good.


zero waste picnic

Speaking of food, buffet style seems to be the most effective. Pick up some reusable plates at a thrift store, or at the very least, make sure your table ware is completely post consumer recycled products that are compostable. For eating utensils, try to avoid them. Of course you can pick up a couple spare sets at a thrift store, but finger food is a much better alternative. You can use compostable tooth picks rather than plastic forks.

zero waste buffet olive tomatoe

Another great option is to host a potluck. Making several dishes is tiresome, stressful, and can lead to “short cuts” which usually means… disposable plastics. If everyone focused on one (or maybe two) dishes, dishes they know they can make sustainably, there’s a much smaller chance single-use plastics will find their way into your party. Also, this is a great way for people to test out their homemade sauce and salsa recipes. Avoid pre-made sauces or dips. If you’re not a baker or a cooker, maybe you can whip up a mean batch of guacamole. Be creative!

Drink Without Plastic

Water pincher reusable glass

Glass bottles, even aluminum cans, are a better alternative to plastic. But understandably, water is an essential element for a hot afternoon. Here are some ways we suggest you can serve nice, cold, water without resorting to plastic water bottles.

It’s totally okay if you don’t have a glass pitcher. I mean, if you really want one, pick one up from a thrift store. But any empty (clean) glass bottle will do, even old wine bottles filled with ice water looks nicer than a stack of Dasani bottles polluting your table. Jazz it up with sliced limes, lemons, or even cucumbers. Oh, so fancy!

Pretty Cloth Napkins vs Ugly Paper Towels

fabric napkins no paper towels

Paper napkins are so useless. If you spill something, they take a giant wad to absorb the mess, they blow away with the slightest breeze, they’re usually bleached and full of chemicals, and have you ever noticed that people seem to go overboard with paper napkins? They grab a handful and use one. It’s a weird habit.

The best way to prevent this is just to pick up some cloth napkins at your local second hand store. Hint: Don’t get white. It might look nice, but they are a B to clean. Dark colored napkins are my friend. They look so much nicer. SO much nicer. And guests usually use them gingerly, and appropriately, it’s awesome.

A great tip from Stephanie at fillgood.co:

For parties, Stephanie leaves paper or compostable bags by tables to prevent unnecessary items from making their way into the trash and landfill. Food scraps can be scraped directly into these bags for easy composting. Since you haven’t provided any plastics, you should not have to worry about non-compostable items making their way into the bags, but it does not hurt to double check.

compostable paper bag veggies

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