Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Throw a Bash with Less Trash

Say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new in green style! It is possible to have a fun holiday feast or blowout New Year’s Eve party that jump starts resolutions about reducing clutter and living lighter on the planet in 2012. Here are some timely entertaining tips that will serve you well for all of 2012 — and the rest of 2011:
  • Instead of resorting to disposable cups, use wine glass charms, ribbon, twine, rubber bands or other items to create a unique marking system for glasses, cups and mugs. Everyone knows which cup is theirs and nothing goes in the trash!
  • If your party isn’t formal, acquire a mix of plates and beverage glasses at local thrift stores and yard sales. It can be fun to drink wine out of juice glasses and jelly jars and they aren’t as tippy as stemware. After your party, box everything up and return it to the thrift store. The organization receives a nice “donation” from you, and you aren’t left with the clutter — or a trash can full of paper plates.
  • While beer bottles and cans are recyclable they’re also heavy and take up a lot of space in the recycling bin. Consider springing for a torpedo keg, a pony keg or a whole keg. Beer glasses are washable, as are plastic cups. And, of course, you return the keg and its tackle.
  • Self-serve buffet tables with a choice of small bites, carefully labeled for guests with dietary restrictions, make a lot of sense for limiting food waste and or leftovers. Check out our great small bites recipes and spend a few minutes with our servings calculator while making your shopping list and you can purchase more accurately for the number of guests you expect.
  • Keep an eye on the buffet table and make sure nothing cooked sits out longer than two hours – this will help prevent having to throw out the food that’s no longer safe to eat.
  • For a formal event, consider borrowing or renting tableware and serve ware. You can return them the next day and not have to worry about storing them year-round.
  • Cloth napkins, of course. Hopefully you have dozens by now. If not, see thrift store tip above. For informal parties, you can find cotton bandanas for about a dollar each. Or a length of cotton fabric can be cut into serviette-sized squares and washed once to give a fringed effect.
  • Our vendor-partner Preserve offers serve ware made from 100% recycled plastic. It is sturdy enough to be used multiple times and can be recycled once it has been to its last party or picnic.
  • If single-use serve ware is best for your needs, you can now find a gratifying selection of recyclable and compostable options in our stores. Handy for a drinks and small bites party, some stores carry elegant appetizer plates designed to hold a wine glass that are made from a sugarcane fiber-based paperboard called bagasse. Other serve ware and some utensils are made from bamboo, an eminently renewable resource that also composts well. Finally some stores carry plates made from dried tropical leaves that are lovely to hold and use.
  • Enlist guests to help with recycling and cleanup. Clearly label bins for recyclables and compost and put out trays for washables.
Finally, enjoy and celebrate the season, your friends and family — and the food. What tips do you have for entertaining with flair while avoiding a landfill hangover in the morning?