Family and friends are coming over and you honestly wish some were not. Hosting for a holiday gathering is a big job and a lot of work. Here are some tips to help you host zero-waste style. Let's be thankful and joyous while doing as little harm as possible.
1. Use real dishes. Sure you have to wash them but guests are usually happy to help and you can also hide from that Uncle you don't like.
If you do not have enough dishes and silverware you can purchase them at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sales, and online selling sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. These are great places to buy fabric napkins as well!!!
I did this for my oldest daughters graduation party in 2012. I have a container full of silverware (bout 60 settings) that I got from Abby Annes. They don't match but thats what makes them cool. I also bought tables cloths and napkins which we just used recently for her gender reveal party and a bunch of other occasions. I rented plates but should have just bought them too.
2. Decorate using what nature gives us. Make it a treasure hunt with kids and go on a hike or a walk around the neighborhood. Pine cones, acorns, leaves, branches are great things to work with. Add some gourds or cinnamon sticks and dried orange slices and you are done. Let the creative juices flow. Even have a small garden or potted flowers in the summer and dry the flowers for decorations later.
3. Buy food locally. Check out your local farmers markets for everything from the main meats to desert. When you are dealing directly with the owner you have a lot more wiggle room in getting things not wrapped up.
4. Have guests bring a container for left overs. Who doesn't' love leftovers? If I don't have to cook the next day I am on it. Your guests might be really happy to oblige since you are being so generous as well. My MIL always send us home with containers of food but she always has containers. If I go somewhere different than I will bring my own. Is it presumptuous, maybe, but just leave them in the car and go back and get them if you need them.
5. Now let's talk hostess gifts. You can buy your flowers from a local florist and ask for no plastic wrap. Wine bottles are recyclable. A potted plant , succulent, or air plant would be cool.
6. Chances are someone composts. Composting is becoming much more popular these days. We have one for yard items, grass clippings, leaves, etc. And two more for food scraps. I am a vegetarian so we have bits and pieces that need to be composted or used for broth. Ask around to see which of your guests compost and ask them to take your prep scraps. I would be thrilled to do this!
All we can strive to do is our best. Not everyone will understand or agree but every little bit helps. What we do here, in Ohio, can positively or negatively effect areas a long way away.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday - Teresa