NORTH COUNTY – Backyard barbecues and pool parties are staples of summer. Such festive events with family and friends create memories that last a lifetime. But as enjoyable as such get-togethers can be, many are not terribly eco-friendly, an unfortunate reality that can take a heavy toll on the planet.
Reducing summer party waste is not very difficult. Eco-conscious hosts can take several steps to reduce the carbon footprint of summer party season.
Serve guests using reusable kitchenware
Though a backyard barbecue may seem like the perfect time to pull out the paper plates and plastic cups, such items are wasteful. Hosts might have to do a little extra work, but serving guests using reusable kitchenware can make any pool party more eco-friendly. Such items can be reused again and again all season long. And hosts don’t need to use the fine china, opting for plastic plates and cups instead. Such items are dishwasher-friendly, meaning the only extra work hosts have to do is load and unload the dishwasher.
Don’t go overboard with main items
Many hosts know that they are bound to have some leftover hamburgers and hot dogs after everyone goes home for the night. Those leftovers often end up going to waste. Instead of making too many items that can’t be enjoyed as leftovers, hosts can make more salad and pasta that might taste better the day after. In addition, such items can be sent home with guests, whereas guests are unlikely to take home burgers and franks. Hosts who find themselves with a substantial amount of leftovers should call a nearby food bank or homeless shelter to see if they accept leftovers as donations.
Organize the menu with friends
Some people feel that party etiquette dictates that guests bring something to the party. While this is a great way to relieve hosts of some of the financial burden of hosting a party, it can also produce waste if guests bring the same items. In the days before the party, hosts should contact their friends and family to make sure everyone is bringing something different if the event is a potluck. This reduces the likelihood that food will end up going to waste.
Recycle bottles and cans
Whether it’s beer, soda, or water, beverages served at barbecues and pool parties tend to come in bottles or cans. To ensure a party is more eco-friendly, hosts should designate a garbage can for just bottles and cans, directing guests to discard these items in an eco-friendly way.