Block Party: Tips for making it eco-friendly

Day 180 – One of the best ways to celebrate summer is having a block party. Gathering the neighbors for some food and fun has been a wonderful tradition shared by countless neighborhoods throughout the years. This year is extra special, since last summer we were not able to gather together.

Here are some suggestions on how you can have an amazing block party, while still being environmentally friendly.

  1. Don’t use disposable tablecloths – Invest in reusable tablecloths that can be used year after year. I found a great deal on tablecloths at Home Goods. There are also a variety of reusable tablecloths made from recycled material.
  2. Ditch the plastic cutlery – Not everyone has a plethora of kitchen cutlery to put out for guests. However, there are reusable options that can replace the typical disposable plasticware. Preserve is just one brand that offers reusable plasticware that can be used countless times. They are dishwasher safe and can be recycled through the companies take back program. Just make sure you tell your guests to not throw out the cutlery.
  3. Switch from disposable to reusable plates – Paper plates are very easy, but they do add to landfill waste. Choosing a reusable option is ideal. Preserve offers reusable plates. Like their cutlery, they are dishwasher safe and can be recycled, once they can no longer be used. They also offer compostable plates as do many other companies. If you must use disposable plates, always choose paper over styrofoam.
  4. No water bottles – A fraction of the plastic water bottles that end up in recycling, actually end up getting recycled. So, the best way to avoid this problem is to avoid using plastic water bottles. Try to use large containers to hold water and encourage your guests to bring a water bottle or glass to fill. You can also provide a reusable cup option, instead of the usual disposable SOLO cup. If you end up using SOLO cups, check out TerraCycles free recycling program. Aluminum cups are another plastic free option.
  5. Compost food waste – Check to see if any of neighbors are composting. If they are composting at home, they might be able to take a little extra. If they are commercial composting, they can request an additional bin or two to collect food waste from the block party. There’s no doubt block parties can produce a great deal of food waste. Many dishes sitting outside for numerous hours are usually not saved for future meals.
  6. Avoid the individual snacks – Try to purchase in bulk when buying snacks for your party. The packaging from individually wrapped snacks will add up. This type of packaging is not recyclable and will end up in the trash.
  7. Encourage neighbors to power off – Remind your neighbors to turn off lights and electronics while outside enjoying the block party. Block party day is the perfect excuse to unplug and get outdoors to spend time with the neighbors.
  8. Have recycling stations – If you will have items that can be reused or recycled, be sure to have a few places where neighbors can drop off those items and avoid putting them in the trash.
  9. Avoid using paper towels – Block party clean up is inevitable. Consider using reusable rags instead of paper towels. This will considerably cutback your waste.
  10. Have fun! – Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, enjoy the day and feel good about putting the extra effort into making your block party environmentally friendly.

Tomorrow, sustainable bathing suit options.

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