People who are conscious about reducing their environmental footprint tend to have excellent reuse systems at home... but take it outside and scale things up for a party and suddenly disposable options look pretty tempting, especially when they're so darn cheap.
But Plastic-Free Hackney say, 'No!' - this is your Golden Moment to inspire others and make reuse the norm.
It doesn't have to be a headache - share the load and the whole event becomes more fun.
First off, see what other people have got, parties are a great moment to share. If you're holding a street party, invite people to bring out plates, cups, cutlery and share with neighbours.
If it's a kids party, see if friends have got picnic/camping plates and cups they can share.
There is also the brilliant Party Kit Network where you can find reusable party kits on loan local to where you live, sometimes they’re even free. There are lots in Hackney :)
You can literally prevent hundreds of single use bits of plastic from being used this way. Small but mighty.
If you're a parent at a primary school, see if you can set up a system there for school parties and events. If you need help, give us a shout.
Invite some neighbours to volunteer to help with
the washing up - it’s more fun doing it with other people. You’ll be surprised how many people will be up for it, people often like chipping in with a helpful job.
If it's a community event its a good way for people to get to know one another, over the soap suds and marigolds.
After all, no one like eating off a soggy paper plate.
Avoid balloons (especially helium), and be careful with things like confetti canons, they are often packed with micro plastics - little things that sparkle such as glitter are micro-plastics. Remember that if you’re outside the wind will carry things away such as confetti.
See if someone already has or is up for making bunting. It's easy to make and you can bring it out time and time again. I've got cut-out triangles sewn onto a ribbon that's been doing an excellent, slightly frayed job for years.
We also have a birthday banner made out of an old bed sheet that's been on the job for family and friends birthdays for 10 years. Call me sentimental, but there's something a bit lovely about it coming out time and time again. Plastic equivalents won't last like this.
Don’t use plastic tablecloths, they always end up being a pain and blowing around, just give the table a good wipe before and after, or use an old bedsheet.
Encourage people to provide vegetarian dishes.
Collect old take away boxes to use as Tupperware so that people can take left overs home. That way you can cut food waste and encourage a bit more
Ah, bins. The Plastic-Free Hackney Mastermind choice, Bettina and I spend so much time talking about bins. In Bettina's words 'neat bins make neat waste'.
Think about your bins and treat them with pride. You need a bin station with 4 points -
bucket for liquids
Label each bin clearly and with love - if it looks like you’ve spent time doing this and it’s neat, people will respect the system.
Your Golden Moment!
Use the event as an opportunity to try new systems and make a bit of a fanfare about it, - We're running Twinkle Toes' Birthday/Street Party as a low waste event, can you help by washing up/lending bunting etc...
In our experience people enjoy it, adapt quickly and happily, and wham bam you've set the standard for future parties.