Day 7 on the 12 Days of Wastefulness is dedicated to one of the biggest trash producers of the season: corporate parties.
From food to drinks to games to gifts, companies go all out around the holidays. But let’s face it, these parties, as fun as they are, create massive amounts of waste. Wasted food often goes to landfill. Same with plastics like single use cups, stir straws.. last year I even saw company logos on fidget spinners, wrapped in plastic.
Businesses have a unique opportunity, nay obligation, to educate their employees about zero waste practices. These practices, when utilized correctly, can actually be extremely cost effective. During events like holiday parties, why not implement some zero waste ideas to help reduce waste during an already extremely wasteful time of year, and spread some environmentally friendly knowledge that may change people’s lives!
Food and Drink:
Buffet style food allows people to chose their own portions, which ideally minimizes waste. Use real silverware, reusable plates and glasses, and cloth napkins whenever possible. Otherwise, make sure you have a means to compost any paper napkins, paper cups, or tooth picks as well as clearly labeled receptacles for the guests to compost their food and paper waste.
Photo Source: https://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com/
Make sure that the bar tenders and restaurant staff are handing out paper straws upon request only. Plastic straws should absolutely be outlawed at any event. This extends to those little swords t hat hold cocktail fruit together. Sorry!
If celebrating with champagne and wine, be sure to find bottles that have real corks, not the non-recyclable plastic kind. If possible, drink beer on tap, recycling aluminum cans and glass bottles still requires water and emits carbon in the process.
No matter what game you play, from Secret Santa to White Elephant they should all have the following rules:
1.) All gifts given must either be homemade or second hand (See Guide to Zero Waste Gift Giving).
2.) All gifts much be packaged in fabric wrap or a fabric gift bag (See Zero Wast Gift Wrapping)
Most companies give away gifts to their employees during holiday parties, and though the intention is always thoughtful, the gifts are usually pretty wasteful. Companies love to give out cheap gadgets with their logo on them, from USB ports that die after a month to oversized t-shirts to plastic gift cards.
Why not take this opportunity to give your company something useful and sustainable? Like stainless steel lunchboxes with the company logo engraved:
Water bottles or To Go Cups:
A cutlery and chopstick set:
…..and ONE last note:
don’t be lured by this lady: