It’s a new year and we all probably made our Zero Waste resolutions when it started a few days ago.
Have you ever asked yourself how many times do we celebrate over the year?
Christmas, New Year’s eve, Carnival and Easter are just a part of the many festivities we celebrate, and occasions like birthdays, anniversaries etc..
So, how can we make a party or a celebration sustainable?
Here are 5 tips to go Zero Waste when celebrating festivities, birthdays and parties.
Zero Waste festivities, birthdays and parties
1. Sustainable Tableware
We like to celebrate with family and friends, and lunches and dinners are of course special occasions. Tables are decorated in the best way and, basically, what we need are plates, utensils and glasses.
The first thing to do to go sustainable is to avoid single-use tableware and switch to “real” one. Don’t’ you have the proper quantity and the idea of buying all that stuff upsets you? Well, you can rent them.
Alternatively, you can:
1. Buy them in collaboration with other persons
2. Borrow them from a friend
Worried about the water needed to wash them?
Look at this from a different point of view. If we put together the effort needed to clean them up from the environment after they get thrown away and the water used to produce single-use tableware, we see that the quantity of water needed to wash your plates is considerably less.
When we celebrate we usually eat or drink something – or, better yet, a lot.
This is not just because we waste a lot of food, but also because we have to consider all the resources used to produce that food. Water, CO2 and collateral emissions produced during the entire pipeline (growing/harvesting/farming, transporting, selling and wasting that food) impact consistently on the entire distribution process.
This makes food one of the most influential aspects of our life, through which we can make a sustainable change and be truly revolutionary. Even just a few changes to our diet can have a great impact on the planet and protect it.
However, regardless of our diet, the very first step is:
- Buy and cook only the food we actually eat. This coming from an Italian, it might sound strange, but, when you’re celebrating something, don’t cook as if you will have an army over for dinner.
- Reduce portions and courses…and if you have some leftovers, don’t throw them away. Consider them for the day after or share with your guests. How do you think most of the recipes we created in history were born? From leftovers and the necessity to come up with something to use them in!
After all, there are people in the world who have no access to food or water or days…that’s kind of the least we can do to honor our fortune.
3. Balloons and lanterns
I’m probably going to be a bit blunt right here. It is 2021 and we can’t afford to not call a spade a spade anymore: they might be beautiful and happy and sparkly and wow, but balloons and lanterns are some of the most polluting and harmful single-use objects there are in the world. And I’m not exaggerating.
Not only they are single-use – hence they pollute a lot more than we can afford.
Once they get released into the environment they become deadly traps for animals, especially birds, fish and turtles. In the case of lanterns, they might also start fires in the wilderness, becoming a triple trouble.
So please eliminate them from your celebrations and opt for sustainable and natural decorations so that the Earth can celebrate with you! On the Internet there are plenty of ideas you can find to make decorations of all kinds with sustainable materials.
Remember, if the Earth is happy, we are happy…and celebrations should all be about happiness.
4. Sustainable Wraps
9 out of 10 celebrations involve presents. And 10 out of 10 presents involve wrapping…or do they?
Every year, tons of wrapping paper gets wasted for nothing. We can avoid this massive amount of waste by wrapping our presents in creative, sustainable and reusable ways, which are, by the way, much more beautiful, elegant and special than the typical single-use wrapping paper with.
FUROSHIKI TECHNIQUE is a sustainable way to wrap gifts with fabrics.
We can use old cloths, or we can make some new ones and reuse them present after present. Or we can use a scarf or a pashmina that will become part of the present itself.
OLD PAPERS SCRAPS/NEWSPAPERS WRAP is another option. A bit of creativity or a quick search on the internet will provide us with endless ideas to wrap our presents sustainably.
5. Sustainable Presents
9 out of 10 celebrations involve presents. And 10 out of 10 presents involve wrapping…or do they? Second round!
I don’t know who said that the best and most precious things in life are not things, but moments and I totally agree with them. So what if our presents, instead of being things, are experiences, and courses and gift cards and moments together with the ones we love?
From parachuting out of a plane, to a much less exciting dinner, to a ticket to and event or concert, or an interesting and enriching course, there are so many different options…all giving the most precious gifts –memories, emotions and time.