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.

Roundups

14 Non-toxic Lotions

stay moisturized without feeling sticky, slippery, or like you're covered in chemicals

Nobody likes feeling like a lizard. But, at the same time, nobody likes researching for safe products. Good news, we did the research and found you 14 wonderful body moisturizers and lotions. If you are looking for a luxurious lotion or just want to keep your hands from cracking, this list has you covered. And, the products are well reviewed all over the internet and easy to find both online and in your typical drug stores or beauty aisles.

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
Family

I’m Confused. What Should I Feed My Kids?

Advice and 3 Simple Recipes from Dr. Julia Getzelman

Did you see that thing about there being lead and arsenic in baby food pouches and packaged snacks? What about the one where there's RoundUp (or glyphosate) on cereals and oatmeal? It takes long enough to get your kids strapped in their highchair, so you probably don't have time to do tons of research on which brands and products are safe. Not sure about you, but that's definitely not happening in my house. Don't worry! That's why we sat down with Dr. Julia Getzelman, MD, integrative pediatrician and founder of GetzWell Personalized Pediatrics in San Francisco, to get her advice on what to feed your kids. She gave us some of her best tips and even a couple of recipes, and we are going to share them with you.

Keep Reading Show Less
Food

Food Waste Feast’s 2 Favorite Recipes to Make with Beans

Plus tips from a chef on how to cook with dried beans and ditch the cans

We all know having a can of beans on hand means whipping up dinner can happen pretty quickly. While we love a quick and easy dinner, we aren't as thrilled by a meal that might introduce us to some unnecessary chemicals. Why would whipping up some rice and beans do that? The quick answer is that cans are often lined with BPA, a substance often used to line aluminum cans to keep the food inside from reacting with the metal. So, we talked to a chef Mei Li, co-founder of restaurant Mei Mei in Boston, MA, forthcoming cookbook author, and co-founder of Food Waste Feast, to figure out what's up with dried beans.

Guess what we learned - dried beans aren't that scary.

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Sweater Weather Means Sweater Washing

A whole bunch of tips for non-toxic ways to wash, store, and care for sweaters

As we get the first hints of true chill in the air, that means it's time to start pulling out the layers and bundling up in all the cozy sweaters you can find. But, now that you've pulled them out of storage, does it look like they need some TLC? Maybe it's just a little freshening up, or maybe you notice some tiny little holes that weren't there before. Well, the good news is that we've got a couple of tips for caring for your sweaters, and none of them will introduce any chemicals to your wardrobe or closet.

Keep Reading Show Less

No matter where you turn everyone has suggestions for how to prioritize when to shop organic. Some swear by the dirty dozen (props to you if you can remember a dozen different fruits and veggies - I sure can't) other say just do what you can. While that advice is a start, sometimes we get confused and want a little bit of guidance. So, we went through the dirty dozen and other lists to break it down into a silly 3 word phrase. Like when you had to study vocab in school and you would make up stories, leafy berry skins helps us remember the 3 things to opt organic for in the produce section. Leafy greens, berries of all kinds, and things with skin you eat.

Keep Reading Show Less
Science

Antimicrobials, or anti-your-health?

Why you should rethink buying antimicrobial products

You know it's coming, the dreaded flu season. Maybe you've tried investing in an antimicrobial mattress, shower curtain or probably the most common, soap, to try and prevent those germs from making you and your family sick. They just seem so promising, with their claims of preventing 99.9% of all germs. But, are they actually keeping you safer? Based on new research, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement on why antimicrobials might not be the best way to fight off germs. We'll break down everything for you.

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Another Reason to Buy a New Lipstick

Why you might want to consider switching brands

We all have our favorite lipstick. The one that we wear practically every day, is acceptable for work and going out, and that you are always sure to buy extras of, just in case the store runs out. Maybe yours is bright red, a nude pink, or maybe you like to go all out and wear a different shade every week. Regardless of how you get your perfect pout, it might be time to put on your detective hat and take a deeper dive into what makes your lips shine.

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