March 26th, 2013

March Madness Dinner Party with One Bag of Trash

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Groovy Green Livin March Madness

Paying attention during March Madness is not high on my priority list, but if Wisconsin is playing and there’s a way to combine the games with good food and good friends I’m in. The Badgers didn’t last long this year, losing in the second round of March Madness to the Ole Miss Rebels. That didn’t stop us from having a dinner with friends and their families.

Our dinner was fantastic.

Groovy Green Livin March Madness

Everyone brought something to share.

Groovy Green Livin March Madness

Aren’t these basketball cupcakes da bomb?

Groovy Green Livin March Madness

We were given a challenge-to host a March Madness party with only one bag of trash at the end of the night.

That might sound easy on a regular day, but when you have 8 adults and 8 children eating together it becomes a challenge to stick to  greener habits. Many times when entertaining takes place eco-friendly habits fall by the wayside. According to the Clean Air Council, 43,000 tons of food are thrown out every day in the United States, and each year Americans toss out enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. Those are some scary statistics.

Considering composting and recycling before throwing something in a trash bag makes it easy to reduce overall waste.  During our party our guests were instructed to place all of the food scraps into this Simplehuman Compost Pail. We also had recycle bins available. Making small eco-friendly tweaks to your party planning can ultimately have a big impact on the environment.

Groovy Green Livin March Madness

Here are a few tips for keeping it green when entertaining. 

  • Email your invites. I actually didn’t use formal invitations for this party. We just kept an online dialogue going about timing and menu.
  • Buy what you can in bulk. Buying from the bulk bins at the grocery store can be a great way to save money on your grocery bill, but that’s not the only reason to shop the bulk bins. I like the ability to buy only what you need and decreasing the chance of creating excess waste.
  • Use reusable napkins. We have 5 people in our family-if we eat just one meal a day at home using paper/disposable napkins we are using 1,825 paper napkins per year. That statistic was enough to make me switch to reusable napkins. Making the switch is a simple way to help the environment and save yourself a few pennies in the long run.
  • Go for real dishes, reusable water bottles or cups and flatware. Not only do they look nicer, but you’ll be doing the earth a favor. Using reusable dishes, cups, water bottles and utensils prevents disposable paper or plastic from unnecessarily entering a landfill. If you don’t have enough dishes for the party consider borrowing from a friend. 
  • Donate leftover food. This never seems to be an issue for us. We have a family of healthy eaters! If you have leftovers check with your local food pantry for donation options.
  • Have recycle containers and a compost bucket ready for action. Show your guests where to place their refuse. Every city and town has their own recycle system in place, so follow along with their guidelines. We are novice composters over here, but we have a compost bucket that can handle any food scraps.
  • Use a compostable garbage bag to collect your one bag of trash. As most of you who follow this blog know I’m on a mission to reduce the amount of plastic in my life. With 5 people and a dog our garbage bags can get pretty messy and runs the risk of leaking. The best alternative I’ve found is a compostable garbage bag by Glad which is made with a vegetable-based material that’s 100% biodegradable and compostable. If a plastic bag is needed for garbage, they’re a much better option than true plastic bags.

Here’s what we were left with after everything was recycled and/or composted. Not bad for 16 people!

Groovy Green Livin March Madness

Do you think you could have a One Bag party and throw away only one bag of trash?

Stay tuned….I’ll be posting a giveaway in the next few days for a One Bag party kit so you can give it a try. You can also enter for a chance to win $10,000 toward your own personal One Bag party through March 31, 2013 HERE.

photo credit: iandavidmuir via photopin cc photo credit: thecocoacakery via photopin cc

Disclosure: I did receive compensation in exchange for having a one bag party and sharing my experience. The content and opinions are 100% my own and always will be. Promise.

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3 Responses to “March Madness Dinner Party with One Bag of Trash”

  1. First, the food looks yummy! Give one of those cupcakes RIGHT now, please. Oh right, this was about waste. Well, if I were there you can be certain there would be no cupcake waste. Whenever we have birthday parties I always put out cloth napkins and use “real” plates and silverware. I’d rather fill the dishwasher than have the extra waste, so I think it is totally doable. Now I just need one of those little compost containers. ;)

  2. [...] recently hosted a One Bag March Madness party. The goal was to invite friends over for a dinner party, use as many reusable products as possible [...]

  3. Great job Lori! We have a Super Bowl party each year. We definitely don’t have more than one bag of trash – which is such a difference from other holiday parties at my relatives’! I have switched to real dishes and silverware and get the kids to decorate boxes or make signs for recycling. Next on my list is cloth napkins for company. I did reuse leftover napkins from partys past. We use cloth all the time, but I don’t have enough for a party. Hmmm…. seems like a good project for my mom to sew a bunch up!

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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