Planning an afternoon in the garden filled with good food, drinks and loved ones? Read our top tips on how best to cater for your garden party as sustainably as possible.
Gardens filled with family and friends, plates in one hand and drinks in the other, offer the opportunity to make the most of warm evenings and lasting light. However, more often than not, the fear of broken crockery and piles of washing up can result in an excess of single-use materials and waste. Throwing a garden party with a little fore-planning and consideration of your consumption can mean no longer filling bin bags with plastic cutlery and paper plates.
A Plant-heavy Focus
Whilst barbecues and dinner parties can often have a meat-centric focus, considering the environmental impact of your menu can get your garden party of to a great start. The evidence surrounding the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet is becoming more widely known, with livestock and farming having been proved to significantly contribute to greenhouse gas production, deforestation and excessive water consumption. If you’re looking to showcase your own cookery skills, simple but delicious vegan recipes are available in abundance online. Perhaps line tables with sides of charred asparagus or take inspiration from Mary McCartney on the best dinner party pie filling or black bean burger.
This too goes for dips, sides, drinks and puddings. In consciously opting for homemade, the excess plastic packaging of your hummus pots and guacamole is immediately eliminated. If you don’t have the time to make them yourself, Rubies in the Rubble offer vegan condiments with a zero-waste twist. Whilst consciousness surrounding bottled water is growing, plastic encased fizzy drinks are harder to avoid. Making refreshing summer drinks and opting for glass-bottled drinks are your best option for keeping your party low waste. If offering alcohol, why not invest in companies with an ethical focus such as OneGin, who donate at least 10% of their profits to fund global water projects.
Fresh Flowers and China Crockery
Paper plates, plastic glasses and disposable cutlery are perhaps necessary when hosting a children’s birthday party; however with your closest family and friends, entrusting them with glassware and ceramics is a simple swap which considerably lessens your waste. Go one step further and opt for plastic-free decorations, avoiding balloons and throw-away décor that simply ends up in landfill. Rather, fill table centres with seasonal fresh flowers and corners with overflowing greenery. Make strings of bunting from scrap material that can be brought out time and time again, woven in between solar powered fairy lights and lanterns.
Reducing Food Waste
It is almost guaranteed that you will have over-catered, left with odd bits and pieces of salad and pudding. Food waste is quite simply a waste of money, not to mention a significant contributor to landfill and the production of methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more deadly than carbon dioxide. Why not dish out leftover food into ‘doggy bags’ for your guests to take home? Perhaps ask them to bring something to take it home in, encouraging them to think about their own single-use waste. In addition to being a conscious move to reduce the waste from your party, it is also an act of generosity and continues to share the experience of the summer garden party even after the night is over.
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