Street parties can be great fun and a lovely way for the community to get together and celebrate. But they can also be very wasteful events. To minimise waste as much as possible, the Surrey Environment Partnership has put together a few tips for Surrey residents to plan eco-friendly parties.
Preparing for your party
- Ask guests to contribute their own items to the party. These could be plates, cups, glasses, cutlery, tablecloths or decorations.
- Some companies supply reusable tableware for parties and even wash it up for you afterwards!
- Keep decorations minimal or reuse old materials such as fabric scraps to make things like bunting. Collect jars and upcycle them into table decorations. Reuse decorations that people may have that they use for their family celebrations.
- Some supermarkets run glass hire schemes where you can pay to hire a large number of drinks glasses for events. Check with your local supermarket to see if they do.
- If you do need to buy items for your party, avoid single-use tableware such as plastic cutlery, paper plates, straws, tablecloths and napkins. These items can be bought from charity or second-hand shops and if you end up with lots of items, could a resident wash them afterwards and keep them stored until the next celebration?
- Buy the food you need and eat the food you buy.
- Encourage residents to take leftover food home with them or donate it to a food bank.
- Serve finger food to avoid needing to use cutlery and plates.
- Buy a keg of beer that can be returned to the brewery to be used again.
- Serve tap water and encourage people to bring their own glasses or reusable bottles.
- Check what can and can’t be recycled using the Surrey Recycles search tool or app and prepare different bins for rubbish, dry mixed recycling and food waste. You may want to use bin bags or cardboard boxes to collect material.
- Ask people to bring along their food caddies and make them easily accessible so wasted food can be recycled.
During your party
- Give someone responsibility for setting up bins and signs correctly and emptying/removing bins once full.
After your party
- Make sure bins are taken to the correct location and waste disposed of correctly.
- Make sure any unclaimed items leftover after the party are either reused, passed on to a secondhand or charity shop to be used again or, if possible, recycled.