Day 31: YOU DID IT!

 

Zero Waste Challenge: Day 31

You Did It!

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Congratulations! You have completed the 31 Day Plastic Free July Challenge. 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. Last week we highlight 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 purchasing disposable plastics.

And we definitely think that you should 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.

The Problem:

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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.

 

The Solution:

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

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.

 

Food:

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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 much better alternative. You can use compostable tooth picks rather than plastic forks.

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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!

 

Drinks:

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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!

Napkins:

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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.

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Thank you all for being a part of the solution. Keep fighting! And we will see you tomorrow, August 1st, to talk about the DANGERS OF EUPHEMISTIC LANGUAGE!

*thunder crash*

It’s gonna be intense.

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