Published On: September 7, 2021Categories: Event Planning, Event Sustainability

How I Plan My Own In-Person Eco-Friendly Gatherings

September always feels like a fresh start with the new school year and cooler weather. It also feels like the start of prep time for all the holidays and family gatherings.

Whether it’s a 100 person formal party, 10 person house-party or 25 people at a park. The planning is more or less the same when it comes to thinking about reducing waste at every stage of the process.

Let me break it down in 5 separate categories:

  • Venue 
  • Food + Catering
  • Dinnerware
  • Entertainment
  • Decorations.

I highly recommend downloading your FREE Eco-Friendly Party Planning Guide and follow along with this blog post.

1. Venue

Once you’ve decided you want to throw a party and rough dates, you need to pick a venue. (depending on availability at the venue, this may dictate your date of choice).

One question to ask your venue is: What is the waste management like? What is available on-site?

Finding out the waste management systems, you will know if they have recycling or organics on-site or if you can bring your own on-site.

For me, I’ll be hosting mine at a park during the day.

What is waste management like? Public garbage and recycling bins, no organics.

Solution: Bringing my own organics bag/bin on-site to collect food scraps.

Green Bin filled with crumpled paper and text on the bin says don't be a garbage human

2. Food + Catering

Aftering selecting your venue, food is next. Will you order/have it catered? Or will you make food? Is it a potluck? 

Either way here’s one thing to consider: Can the caterer/people bringing food, minimize or eliminate plastic?

By minimizing plastic – it ultimately reduces waste for your event

For me, I will be providing some food via a caterer and have asked them to minimize their plastic.

Solution: Asking the caterer to minimize plastic, only plastic wrap will be used on cheese platter.

Close up of buffet table

3. Dinnerware

What will you and your guests be eating and drinking from?

The go-to is probably those red SOLO cups and plastic plates you can purchase from the grocery or even dollar store. But to reduce or even eliminate this plastic waste while also avoiding all the dishes you have to do, consider this:

Can you rent plates, cutlery and cups OR ask your guests to bring their own instead?

Renting for a park hangout is out of my budget. 

Solution: I’ll be asking my guests to bring their own!

This will eliminate not only sharing items among households but also everyone will know which cups and plates are theirs!

Close up of hands throwing plastic forks into the garbage can

4. Entertainment

Will you have entertainment or activities at your birthday bash?

Eco-friendly questions to ask yourself or the entertainer: Can waste be minimized or eliminated?

Think of things like fireworks, arts and crafts, bridal shower games etc. All of those activities require THINGS. Ask yourself: Are these items absolutely necessary or can alternatives be used instead?

For me, I want to keep the park hang simple but encourage conversation.

Solution: Board games!

Waste is completely eliminated as these games are reusable.

Close up of domino tiles

5. Decorations

Before heading to the dollar store to buy cheap decorations, here are some things to think about:

Do you already have things at home that you can use or can you borrow things from people in your network?

Personally, I won’t be using decorations as there’s no particular theme and will be eliminating the potential waste completely.

On the off chance that I do, my solution: Asking guests or people in my network if they have anything I can borrow!

Close up of bunting of various colours

Remember that just because something hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t change. It’s always about asking questions! To make your party planning process easier, don’t forget to download the Eco-Friendly Party Planning Guide here.

And if there’s something you’re unsure of (not listed here) for your gathering, and in need of expert advice, well you can always book a one-time strategy session with us! We’ll help you find that one action that you can take to create impact at your next event!

Are there any things you always consider to reduce the environmental impact of your event? Let us know in the comments! 

One Comment

  1. Lupita Buggy July 1, 2023 at 23:46 - Reply

    Very thoroughly researched and enlightening; this article stands out.

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