Zero-Waste Receptions

The month of Ramadan and Eid are intense times, filled with receptions and dinner invitations. What came as a surprise to me was the number of disposable plastics used in all dinners I was invited to, and the amount of waste that resulted from this.
The “convenient” trend of holding invitations nowadays has resulted in everything around the table being disposable: from plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic cutlery, and plastic tablecloths to paper napkins. The whole feast results in huge garbage bags, that later end up in landfills.
Once you throw away your disposables, this directly contributes to the huge problem of climate change

Here are some crazy plastic facts

– 50% of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.
– The production of plastic releases toxins into the environment and uses huge amount of crude oil that releases greenhouse gases.

– It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.

– 9 million tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year.

– Plastic bottles need 450 years to decompose

The “convenience” of using disposables implies a big cost for the environment, which is why we have to break the habit of using disposables just because it’s the easier option.
plastic receptions

How to hold a zero-waste reception

♻️  Use your own plates, glasses, and cutlery. If you feel you do not have enough plates/cups for your guests, try to make use of what you have, such as empty glass jars or mason jars that you have at home as an alternative to glasses or cups for example.

♻️  Use washable cloth napkins instead of paper ones. You can make your own by reusing old curtains or other cloth that you might have laying around.

♻️  Skip the plastic tablecloth.  Alternatively, use a cloth one that can easily be washed when dirty. You can easily make your own tablecloth using any cloth.

♻️  Skip plastic straws! Alternatively, use a bamboo straw or a stainless-steel one that could be washed after every use.

♻️  Avoid buying drinks in plastic bottles, like water and juice. Serve tap water or filtered water in glass jugs. Make your own drinks at home, like different kinds of juices, to avoid buying ready-made ones from the store that only come in plastic. Also, sometimes you could find drinks in glass bottles from grocery stores that could be re-used once finished.

♻️  A major challenge with holding receptions is all the leftover food. To avoid wasting this, store the leftovers! Avoid using plastic Tupperware’s for storing the food, and use glass containers or jars instead. Also, avoid using plastic/aluminum foil for covering the food. Saving food will not only reduce waste but save you money as well.

Freeze and keep for the times you don’t have time to cook. You can freeze foods stored in glass jars and even cloth napkins.

In Palestine, there are options of giving away food to local charities and organizations that could easily be found in different locations.

zero waste receptions
Despite the convenience of not having to wash the dishes, the option of serving in disposables is more costly than using reusable ones as these last longer, and will, therefore, save you money in the long run.
For more tips, read about the 11 disposables you should stop buying now.