Tuesday, July 10, 2018

How to host a zero-waste July 4th party

By Naomi Yaeger-Bischoff,

We hosted a zero waste party on July 4th. It was fun. You can do it too. We used a colorful tablecloth, real dishes and cloth napkins.

( This is a less than a 4 minute read)

Michelle and Greg with real glass with paper pinwheels.
Decorations add to a festive ambiance. To greet our guests, the front of our house featured red, white and blue cloth buntings, and miniature flags lining our sidewalk. I purchased 20 of these little flags at a thrift store three years ago. We use them every year. At the grocery store I purchased a bouquet of flowers from Duluth Flower Farm, (an offshoot of FarmerDoug). I chose their bouquet because brown paper, not plastic, wrapped the arrangement.

Flag-colored paper pinwheels with tiny wooden clothespins that attach onto the top of glasses were another craft store goody.  Also, I purchased little paper flags on wooden toothpicks to stick in our red, white and blue cupcakes.

Julia blows on the paper pinwheel. Click the arrow to see a 3 second video

Guests often ask if they can bring anything. Esther brought some daisies and buttercups. I tasked Michelle with helping me string up colorful lanterns. They were made of paper with LED bulbs.(At a previous party I put red, white and blue crepe paper in our archways. (And for my husband’s birthday party, I purchased a felt “Happy Birthday” banner” we can use again for his and mine — if he remembers!) We also had real cloth napkins. 
Using my parents' crystal cake plate to display the  cupcakes
Notice the cloth tablecloth and wooden toothpick paper flags.

Julia brought a nice glass bowl and fixings for a salad.

Bruce and Jeanne have been bringing their specialty rhubarb daiquiris for a few years now. This year they arrived with the special rhubarb mixture, their blender and the alcohol in canvas bags. The first year they brought their rhubarb specialty, they also brought red Solo “beer” cups. I had a bunch of tumblers and cocktail glasses ready for them. And they didn’t bring the disposable one-time-use cups this year.  

We ate blueberry and strawberry parfaits out of crystal parfait glasses. The parfait glasses had been a wedding gift to my parents. A lot of people don’t like to use china or crystal because you can’t put it in the dishwasher, but my husband actually prefers doing dishes by hand. The crystal gives our parties a special feel. At first I was a little nervous, but then I figured, “What the heck, better the crystal be enjoyed and used, and if something breaks, so what?” It was my parents, and it’s over 61 years old. 
But you don’t have to get fancy and use china or crystal, just use regular everyday dishes and put them in the dishwasher.

A good time was had by all. I gained 3 pounds, but no guilty conscience that I had soiled this nest we all live on, our earth. Walking around our neighborhood picking up trash laying in the storm sewer grates on it’s way to the Lake Superior is a good way to work off those pounds. Or a trip to clean the beach at Park Point would also do it.

Next time you plan to have guests, look for some simple ways to eliminate unnecessary plastic from your party. If you tell your guests what you are doing, perhaps they, too, will make earth-smart choices in deciding what to bring.

Won’t you please join me and pledge to a Plastic Free July at #plasticfreejuly.
Reusable cloth "flag" announcing that this is the house where the celebration is taking place.

If you are planning a party and need some earth-friendly ideas, please free feel to contact me at:
sun_dog_press@yahoo.com or (218) 591-5277. (I am a commissioned Earthkeeper with my church at the national level. I need to donate 10 hours of my time helping others become more earth-friendly, so please contact me.)


Michelle Wegler said...

Parfaits taste better out of real glasses, and the party was fun. It’s easy to be “green.”

Esther Piszczek said...

Great article with creative, simple ways to be more "clean and green". Naomi has shown that some thoughtful pre-planning goes a long way to creating a lovely get-together that is earth friendly, colorful, and fun. Thank you for these doable tips and I love the photos.

Naomi said...

Thanks for your comments Michelle and Esther. Comments are a blogger's delight
Hope have another "green" party soon.