Creative Ways to Reduce Single-Use Plastic at your Event
Events are one of the most challenging places to manage waste. With so many people attending, how do event organisers move towards zero-waste, guide event attendees towards more sustainable decisions and overall ensure that things stay as sustainable as possible?
Whether it’s a corporate event, private function or wedding, read on to find out our top tips for reduce single-use plastic at events.
Keep decorations to a minimum and use natural ones where possible such as flower petals, shells, dried leaves or fresh foliage. Even better - use non-native species to keep the native plants growing and supporting the natural eco-systems.
If your event is the type of event which guests usually bring gifts to (birthday party, wedding etc), let your guests know in advance about your approach and suggest alternative gifts such as concert tickets, donations to charity, online workshops or dance classes.
Replace all single-use disposable items (even recyclable or compostable ones) with reusable ones - cutlery, plates, glassware, napkins. If you don't have enough, you could op-shop for these items, ask your guests to BYO or hire them from a party hire company.
At large-scale events, a deposit return system for certain items will encourage participants to return items at the end of the event - it could be that this money is built into the ticket price.
For coffee, sugar, salt, tea, butter, condiments and sauces, choose bulk dispensers or larger packs in compostable or recyclable materials, or even better source these items from a supplier using your own reusable packaging.
Drinks can be served from taps, kegs or soda streams, and you can event eliminate water bottles/cups by asking guests to BYO water bottles.
Suggest to guests that they bring food containers with them so that they can take home any leftover food. Alternatively you could donate leftover food to a food rescue organisation (although keep in mind to do this the food must be kept in the fridge and not served as part of a buffet table already - keep it aside if you're unsure and only get it out if necessary).
Keep goodie bags and freebies to a minimum (this one applies predominantly to corporate events). We're talking chocolates, pens, desk toys etc. If businesses want visibility they could do something more experience-based, such as sponsor the buffet lunch, set up a relaxation area or organise a dessert station with their logo sprinkled over items in icing sugar.
- The Sustainable Food Co.
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