The plastic free July challenge made me aware of just how many little plastic items are constantly a part of our lives, especially at a cookout. These are just a few examples of items that could be “greenified” at your next BBQ. The more you let your friends know, the more they’ll start doing it too.
Swap Out Plastic Cutlery & Plates
Compostable cutlery is better than plastic and you can barely tell the difference. These are great for when you have a bunch of random people coming over and might feel like you want to cater to what “normal” looks like.
These sugarcane and bamboo fiber plates are also very normal looking and sturdy, same for this compostable party pack that is just ready to go with cups, forks, and plates at a reasonable price. Having it all in one place makes it easy compared to the zillions of options out there. If you’re just getting started this could be the easiest place to start.
Another disposable option is a more earthy palm leaf like this set of forks, knives and plates. I personally think the earthy style is more fun, but it’s up to you and the guests you’ll be having over. A table of banana leaves, pineapples and these would make it feel so tropical that it wouldn’t even seem like an eco friendly act, but the ultimate party vibe.
My favorite by far is the paper plate with fun prints on it. These watermelon ones shout summer for me and they still keep you plastic free.
Swap Out Plastic Straws
There’s something about straws and balloons that are just really fun to see. Unfortunately they aren’t very good for the planet. So, instead of those, grab a whole bunch of flowers for color and decorative fruits. A pineapple and tropical flowers bring festivity to any room. If you really do want to have straws at your party, get some paper ones instead. The stripes are fun, but they also have cute fruity prints that would complement any giant fruit salad display really well.
Swap out Plastic Cups
The greenest thing you can do is use something that can be used again and again instead of just once. If it’s small enough of a party consider using a ton of mason jars for cups. Yes, you’ll have a little clean up time, but they’ll be there for you when ever you need them and can double as tupper ware and vases way after the party is over.
The regular old ones are actually very cheap and will last you or you can kind of splurge and get a set of fun ones with handles.
Yes, they have a plastic straw, but it is reusable so they can be washed up and used many times over. Similarly these fruity themed tops can be put on your mason jars instead of buying a single use to-go drink and burning through plastic each time. If it helps you use less plastic over time in the end it’s the greener option. Of course plain old mason jars with some fruits floating in them are lovely enough too and the absolute greenest of all the options.
If you’re still looking for disposable than try compostable cups. They look a heck of a lot like the real thing, don’t they? You’re guests wont be even to tell unless they take their glasses out.
Reusable Is Best
Check out yard sales, craigslist, and restaurant auctions. You’ll find used plates and cups in super bulk for very little money that can be completely disinfected and turned into your stock pile of reusable party supplies. Store them in a box in the back of your closet and they’ll be ready for you whenever. Our culture is so disposable because people want you to buy things all the time. That’s how capitalism works. But you don’t really need to live a disposable life. Things can be passed on from generation to generation that are made well and last. If these little party supplies are fun for you then go ahead and enjoy them, but don’t hesitate to use real plates and cups if you have enough for the party. I just saw a party pack of 40 plates in festive mexicali colors that were originally from Crate & Barrel on Facebook Marketplace for not even a fraction of the price that looked perfect. Keep your eyes open for that stuff and don’t let the fact that it’s used dissuade you. Once you clean them all up, they really are as good as new. Real plates are classy. ; )
Be The Change
If you’re budget is a little higher consider giving your guests a set of utensils to keep as a fun parting gift. Sometimes being the change is really awkward because no one else is doing it. If you’ve got a good group coming over, then they might be more than happy to make the switch with you and then tell their friends at work where they got their new toy. At about $12 each it’s not an outrageous little parting gift for a birthday party or some special occasion. Un-birthday’s count!
Don’t Forget the Veggies!
And my last piece of advice is to try and be more plant based. Try the vegan hotdogs out on people. See if they can even tell. See my review for Beyond Meat burgers and give them a try. If you like meat then enjoy yourself on your special day, but don’t rule out infusing some plant based eats into your celebration. A well-made, colorful salad can actually be a real show stopper. Let your guests have access to tons of fruits and veggies in addition to what ever you decide to grill up. Marinated tofu veggie sticks are one of my favorite things. Let there be options. They all taste great, too!
What green tips do you have for other BBQers out there? Share your thought in the comments below and have a great summer. ❤
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