How To Host An Eco-Friendly Outdoor Gathering (Without Having To Wash Dishes)

Eco-Friendly Outdoor Gathering

With summer just around the corner, it’s almost time for poolside barbecues, late night movies, and backyard fun. The only downside to hosting a bunch of people outdoors has to clean up the mess. With these methods, you won’t have to:

Use compostable plates and bowls (and burn them when you’re done)

If you’re going to use disposable supplies to avoid having to wash dishes, use compostable plates and bowls instead of plastic. Just don’t put them in the garbage – burn them instead.

Compostable dishes are a bit misleading. It appears as if you can toss them into your backyard compost pile, but that’s not how it works. To compost these dishes, you must send them to a commercial composting facility that uses high heat to incinerate them. There’s no service for this; you’ll need to ship them off on your dime.

Forget about trying to compost your paper plates, and don’t put them in a landfill. Nothing is truly biodegradable where landfills are concerned. Landfills are specifically engineered as anaerobic environments to prevent decomposition. Not even vegetable scraps break down in a landfill even after several decades.

Use your dirty paper plates in for kindling in your fireplace or wood stove. If you don’t have a wood stove, burn them in a metal trash can or add them to your burn pile.

Hand out cash to people who pick up trash

cleaning up a messIf your friends aren’t the type to automatically pitch in to clean up a mess, turn clean-up into a game. Make it known that at the end of the party you’re giving away cash to three people who clean up the most garbage. Put out a box of garbage bags and watch the mess gets cleaned up in no time. People might even start cleaning up as they go.

Get furniture your guests can’t easily break

It’s not eco-friendly to have to buy new patio furniture every year because your guests keep breaking your chairs or ripping holes in your canopy. Instead of opting for cheap patio furniture that doesn’t last, get high-quality furniture that won’t end up in a landfill by the end of summer. A high-quality canopy with thick canvas walls is a good option for any weather.

Consider ditching the lightweight wicker or rattan patio furniture for cast aluminum, steel, or wrought iron. Despite durability, some materials need to be covered during harsh winters (like wrought iron), but your guests won’t break them if they get overly excited.

Require everyone to bring their own silverware

bring own silverware

Another way to avoid messes and stay eco-friendly is to require everyone to bring their own real silverware – no plastic allowed. This way, nobody will be able to dirty up five forks and ten spoons out of laziness and stick you with the mess.

Host a finger-food party and forget the silverware

When was the last time you ate with your hands? When you were five, and your parents told you not to? Eating with your hands is seen as impolite in America, but in countries like India and Ethiopia, it’s the customary way to eat.

Tell your guests ahead of time that your gathering is a silverware-free zone, aside from the silverware you’ll be using to prepare the food. Let them know you’ll provide plenty of soap for hand washing before and after the meal, and plenty of reusable cloth napkins, too.

Don’t just serve traditional finger foods like cheese sticks and appetizers. Go all out to create a full sensory experience for your guests. When people first start eating with their hands, it can feel a bit awkward, but it doesn’t take long for people to immerse themselves in the experience.

Ask guests to bring their own water containers

Ask guests to bring their own water containersAsk your guests to bring water bottles to use in place of cups for your gathering. If people can’t live without soda, buy large 2-liter bottles instead of individual cans. Glass and aluminum are recyclable, but it still takes energy to recycle. The less you contribute to the recycle bin, the better.

Better yet, get one of those fancy soda machines that lets you create your own soda and buy your carbonated water in bulk. If you’ve got a built-in bar, you can put the carbonated water on tap and buy it in large bibs that keep the carbonation sealed in until you use the dispenser.

Keep things simple

Keep your gatherings simple. The less you send to the landfill and recycle center the better. Your guests will get used to bringing their own silverware, and preserving resources will eventually become a welcomed experience.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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