Life

Throwing a Party with Less Plastic

A healthier way to eat cake, drink beer, and celebrate

Parties are always great. You get to see friends, have a good time, and figure out how to eat delicious food off a paper plate while not spilling whatever may be in your cup. While the chips, cake, and booze may not be the healthiest, there are other things you might not be thinking about that harm our health. The biggest offender at parties usually is all the plastic. The plastic cups, the plastic utensils, the fun table cloths with Yoda's face on them are all made of plastic.

With a few simple swaps, you can make the party healthier for your guests (and yourself) by limiting the amount of plastic you use:


Decorations

  • Choose recyclable and reusable decorations, like flowers, string lights, cloth, and paper decorations. Or, make your own decorations with reclaimed, reused, or repurposed materials. You can make garlands from scrap paper or fabric, turn old wine bottles into candlestick holders, or use mason jars for just about anything from vases, to cups, to votive holders.
  • Choose fabric or paper bunting or garland (which can be easily found on Etsy, or made at home).
  • Skip the balloons, especially the shiny foil ones. Paper lanterns or tissue paper honeycomb balls make a good substitute.

Food and Drinks

  • Bring reusable cloth bags with you when you go shopping for party supplies.
  • Use real plates, cups, and flatware if possible, then wash them in the dishwasher after the party. If you don't want to wash dishes, serve things people can easily pop in their mouths over a napkin. We're thinking jalapeno poppers, meatballs, and mini-toasts.
  • If you don't have enough plates, cups, etc. for everyone at the party, opt for compostable options like waxed or untreated paper, bamboo, or sugarcane plates, cups, and cutlery. Be sure to look for options that say they are PFAS free. Clay-coated options are also safe. (2)
  • Go straw free! Plastic straws are definitely an example of unnecessary single use plastic. If you are very pro-straw, choose paper straws which can be composted (and are super instagramable). Stainless steel, glass, and silicone straws that can be used over and over are other good options, but more expensive and come in smaller packages.
  • Send leftovers home with people on compostable plates wrapped in foil instead of in plastic bags. Better yet, ask people to bring their own containers for leftovers. Promote glass or stainless steel containers over plastic ones.
  • If it's a potluck, ask people to bring food on real plates/serving trays instead of plastic trays.
  • Instead of bottled water, or soda, consider making large containers of iced tea, lemonade, juice, or even water with fruit in it. Wine or beer often come in glass bottles, so you are good on that front!
  • Set up clearly marked recycling, trash, and compost (if available in your neighborhood) bins. Help people by listing what can go in each.

While there are many reasons to avoid plastic - it's not good for the world, it requires oil to make, it's hard to recycle if there has been food on it - one that people often don't usually think of is that single-use plastic can affect our health, both immediately and long term. The chemicals in the plastic cups, or even used to make paper cups and plates oil and water resistant, can easily seep into food and drinks. As it does that, it gets into our bodies as we consume the fun party foods and can interfere with the ways cells communicate with our bodies. This interference has been shown in various research projects to lead to things like obesity, fertility problems, temperature disregulation, and even cancers (1).

We are never going to be completely free from plastic. It's everywhere, and for certain things, it's really convenient and necessary. But, it isn't necessary as often as we normally use it. And, one way to lower the risk of health problems and send a message to companies that create unnecessary plastic waste at the same time is to buy and use fewer plastic products or products with excessive plastic packaging.

Now that you are armed with tips, go party!

1) Mannikam M, Tracey R et al. Plastics Derived Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, DEHP and DBP) Induce Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity, Reproductive Disease and Sperm Epimutations. PLOS One. January 24, 2013.

2) Responsible Purchasing Network/Center for Environmental Health. Webinar Slides: Toxic Chemicals in Disposable Food Service Ware. October 17, 2017.

Food

Tricks to Turning Soup Cartons into a Full Hearty Meal

Skip the canned soups and their BPA linings

It's full-on soup season over here. And while we love eating a warm bowl of soup all cozied up in a giant blanket, we also know that sometimes soup isn't the most filling. Especially if you are trying to be good and opting for a soup that comes in a carton instead of a can that is almost definitely lined with BPA. While we love the soup cartons for many reasons, including the fact that we are sure they are BPA free, we do realize the soups available in cartons aren't as chunky or filling. But, before you write them off or go back to your standby chunky in the can, hear us out. With just a few tricks, you can turn some of those cartons of soups into hearty, delicious, warm, cozy meals. We always have a couple flavors on hand in the pantry for last minute, low prep, and healthy meals. Here are our top picks!

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL
Food

Why It's Important to Turn the Range Hood On Every Time

Or open the window. Even when you're boiling water. We're serious!


If you heard that chemicals give off dangerous fumes, you probably wouldn't be surprised. But it might be surprising to learn that cooking, or even turning on a stove or stovetop can give off fumes and particles that can be harmful too (5). Think about it, have you ever noticed all the smoke floating away from your cooking pan when you're stir-frying or just plain frying? Or maybe you've smelled something funny when you turn on the burner? Well, in that cloud of smoke are a whole heap of yucky chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) (5).

Keep Reading Show Less
Food

A Step by Step Guide to Easy Stovetop Popcorn

Trust us, those microwave bags are NOT good for you

Popcorn is basically the perfect snack for any time of the day. No judgement here if you've ever had it for breakfast or even twice in one day! But if you've been microwaving popcorn bags, may we suggest an easy healthier alternative? Stovetop popcorn is not as scary as it seems and is super easy to make. Plus, you can control how much butter and salt you add or try a dozen other fun topping ideas.

Have you ever wondered how a paper bag that is filled with buttery popcorn doesn't break apart or leak any oil? It turns out that the bags are coated in basically a Teflon-esque substance. And unfortunately, that means your popcorn has traces of these PFAS chemicals on them too. PFAS (otherwise known around here as pretty freaking awful stuff) has been linked to all sorts of health problems from cancers all the way down to reproductive and developmental difficulties. But fear not, you don't have to give up your popcorn habit. We have a step by step guide to making stovetop popcorn, as well as a list of fun toppings suggestions to try out. Give it a try!

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

6 Non-Toxic Children's Toothpaste Options

They taste like "fruit," will clean their teeth, and are totally safe

No matter how many teeth your kid has, they still should brush them all. These toothpaste options have all gotten great reviews online and are vetted to be safe for your kids. You could technically use them too, but if watermelon toothpaste just doesn't sound appealing to you, you might also want to check out our regular toothpaste roundup. Smile! (Because you are excited we did the research for you and to show off those pearly whites.)

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Why and How to Make Your Own Bath Bombs

Stock up so you can relax whenever you want

After a long day, very few things are as relaxing as taking the perfect bath. That might include setting the mood with just the right candle, turning on a "spa music" playlist, and dropping a cosmic bath bomb into the water. Or maybe your kid has refused to take a bath for several days and you're getting desperate and think a color filled bath bomb might just be the ticket.

But, that store-bought bath bomb might turn your long-awaited bath into a stew of chemicals that might not be so great for you.

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

How to Pick the Best Candle for Your Spa Night

our tips for the healthiest way to set the mood

It's Friday night. Congratulations on making it through this brutal, long week. We completely understand that all you've got on your mind are the wine and cheese sitting in your fridge calling to you. OH, and maybe a bubble bath with those brand new candles you just purchased. It's the perfect spa night. Yep, it's happening. Forget going out, tonight is all about staying in. But before you light a million candles in the bathroom, hear us out on why maybe just one (or some cute string lights) will do!

Keep Reading Show Less
Food

Is Your Tea Bag Made with Plastic?

Silky pyramids, plastic sealed bags, and what brands are actually fully compostable

Whether you like to pretend you are British all the time, or just have a cold, chances are you are making that cup of tea with a conveniently packaged tea bag. While tea bags are great (and basically everywhere) there's something you should know about that innocent tea bag. Many of them use plastic to keep them sealed shut. Nope, not just on the wrapper the tea bag actually comes in, but the bag itself. The idea of a plastic soaking in boiling hot water just does not sound cozy to us. But thankfully, there are some easy changes you can make if you feel the same way we do.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL