Minimise your Net Impact with a Zero Waste Party
In this blog we share some of the great elements that made this a really memorable evening, where new friendships were struck and great advice exchanged.
These ideas you can carry forward for your family festivities, New Year ’s Eve parties and even 2015 office meetings (although we don’t want to think about those just yet)!
We chose Co-exist at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft Bristol. Hamilton House was a disused office space that has been transformed into a community space. Co-exist’s ethos fits perfectly with Net Impact's.
a philosophy of open hearted and active engagement. Coexist believes in being the change we wish to see in the world.
A limited budget and the zero waste theme gave us the licence to get creative! The team came up with lots of ingenious ideas to create a festive theme, without purchasing anything new and with no tinsel in sight!
- Table lights – Jars and cans make great candle holders
- Drinking vessels – Jars and bottles can be used for this too
- The bar – The Co-exist bar is actually made from old pallets
- The tree – A branch placed in a whisky bottle garnished with dried oranges created an original festive feel
We were able to run our own bar so had planned to buy a large reusable barrel of cider. However it was more practical for mulled cider to get it in reusable containers. So we went to the local cider shop and bought cider by the litre in reusable containers.
Other reusable options:
- If we had wanted beer we could have also got swing bottles filled at a local micro brewery.
- Reusable barrels of cider can be returned to shops or breweries.
For drinks, we asked guests to bring a vessel for their mulled cider. This minimised our washing up and need for disposable items.
For food, we ordered finger food that was served on platters in the middle of the tables. There were no plates or cutlery just napkins. Sharing platters around the table added to the networking, sharing and party atmosphere (even though people only knew one or two people in the room).
Our 80 % vegetarian buffet was supplied by the Surplus Supper Club part of Fareshare SouthWest that divert surplus food from being wasted by the food industry.
This was completely on theme and gave us a chance to briefly highlight and discuss the food waste debate. However it did mean we had items that came in lots of packaging (though better in our bellies than in the bin in packaging).
People took leftover food home with them so their was minimal food waste at the end.
Other zero-waste catering ideas:
- Ask all guests to bring a homemade item
- Buy all olives, cheese and meat from local suppliers taking your own reusable containers along
- Prepare seasonal salads and vegetable based dishes from vegetables from a local grocer, farm shop or veg box
- Make your own popcorn from popping corn
- Only order 80% of food required. Caterers generally over cater for buffets!
- Minimise your carbon footprint by going vegetarian or mostly meat-free
- Tell guests to bring a sandwich box for leftovers
Presence NOT presents
Whilst consumerism is currently over-drive we were keen to create a safe haven that valued the gift of sharing knowledge and advice rather than a silly secret Santa.
So instead we asked guests to share one piece of advice they had received this year. The quotes were placed on our advice tree
Some of the quotes included:
People wont remember what you said, they wont remember what you did: they will remember how you made them FEEL.
To succeed in life you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.
The WHY is bigger than the HOW. Know WHY, and it will happen.
When giving a talk to (for example) 40 people for 1 hour, remember you are responsible for 40 human hours. Use them wisely!
Find something you love, then do all that you can to do this as your job.
Whilst this was a ticketed event, we turned off all the print notifications on eventbrite and specifically reminded guests not to print tickets. Instead, we used an Ipad to sign people in when they arrived.
We re-used scrap paper for drink vouchers and tags for the advice tree.
Rather than printing out any new materials for the advice tree we cut out quotes from magazines and reused a collection of postcards.
People really bought into the zero waste theme with 2/3rds of guests bringing their own vessels. What's more people actually cheered about the lack of cutlery!
Our pre-dinner speaker was a thought-provoking change maker, Melinda Watson from Raw Foundation, who highlighted her journey from packaging designer to anti- plastic campaigner, as well as the perils of plastic for the environment and health.
Be the change you want to see practical actions will serve to inspire your guests to think about their waste footprint.
Have you got other ideas or examples for a zero waste theme? Then share them with us below.