From disposable napkins to plastic food packaging, we often feel guilty throwing out rubbish after a dinner party. But its actually surprisingly easy to throw a dinner party without any disposables or landfill waste – and it may just turn out to be the most elegant dinner you’ve ever hosted.
Setting the table is as easy as opting for real ceramic plates and linen napkins instead of disposables. Reusable crockery and cutlery saves money in the long run. If you have a bigger crowd, borrow an extra set from your neighbours. Or for a quirky alternative, top up your collection with some mix-and-match dinnerware from a charity shop.
Start the good dinner vibes by lighting a few beeswax or soy candles, and fine-tuning your Spotify playlist. For a more casual feel, decorate with succulents or get creative and colourful with some funky fruit or vegetable centrepieces.
Understated Elegance: Reusable tableware and napkins and some natural decorations avoid waste.
Glass dispensers make for a funky centrepiece, especially when you add chopped fruit. Batch up a cocktail or lemonade in advance and let guests serve themselves, while you enjoy the party. Eliminate the plastic waste by carbonating your own tap water and buying all drinks in glass bottles or aluminium cans.
Plastic straws are one of the most common items found in beach clean-ups. In the UK and US alone, a staggering 550 million plastic straws are thrown out every day, and they cannot be recycled. The average straw is used for about 20 minutes before it is thrown out - but for any sea turtle unlucky enough to mistake that straw for food, it can cause a whole lifetime of suffering. If you really need a straw, use a metallic, glass or paper variety.
Kick things off with simple starters - you’ll easily avoid the food packaging and usually find it cheaper. Try some bruschetta with fresh local tomatoes, easy snacks like olives and nuts, or fresh home made dips in the blender. Go for reusable cocktail sticks for a more elegant look.
ABOVE: Stainless steel cocktail sticks make your dirty martini look even better
Stick to a seasonal menu, so that produce is sourced locally. There’s a reason why a berry fruit salad in summer is more appealing than warm apple crumble. Pick up your groceries with minimal waste by using your own bags and containers, and shopping the perimeter of the supermarket. Check out our guide to a zero waste food shop for more ideas.
Love food, hate waste – its not just packaging waste that gets thrown out after a dinner party – food waste is a huge problem. Leftovers are delicious, but you don’t always get to them in time. Try portioning out leftovers and handing them out to your guests in reusable containers.