Guide to a Greener Holiday - Zero Waste Holiday Parties and Decorations

Posted Tue, 12/03/2019 - 08:54

The Marine Debris Program has gathered up our favorite quick tips for making this holiday season a little greener. In a series of three blogs, our team will share their holiday hacks to help celebrate the season while also protecting the planet! First up: parties

Hosting Parties at Home or the Office

  • Compile a paperless list of all needed supplies to reduce as much waste as possible. Examples include: 
    1. Buy in bulk (e.g., creamers and sugars for coffee, fruit or vegetable platters, etc.) 
    2. Reusable dishes, mugs, and utensils
    3. Cloth napkins
    4. Recycling and/or compost bins
    5. Chalkboards or white boards for food labels and instructions on the proper use of the recycling and compost bins

  • If placing catering orders, be sure to ask for no single-use utensils or individually wrapped condiments. Work with the catering company early in the planning process to be sure zero waste goals are possible.
  • For smaller events, consider reaching out to guests to help source the necessary reusable items (e.g., napkins, dishes, utensils) or let everyone know to BYO (bring your own).
  • Instead of mailing invitations, consider sending electronic invites via email. Be sure to include a note about the event’s zero waste goals and anything guests may do to ensure the goals are reached (e.g., bringing food to share or take home in reusable containers).
  • For larger events, identify locations where the trash, recycling, and/or compost bins will be placed and stored during the event. Provide clear labels regarding which items should be deposited in each bin.


  • Use household items to create zero waste decorations. For example, glass jars turned upside-down make great, glitter-free snow globes.
  • Choose decorations that can be reused each year. Avoid disposable options like balloons and streamers.
  • Incorporate natural elements into your decor, such as items you might find in your backyard.

Check your inbox later this week for tips on zero waste gifts and wrapping!

Guide to a Greener Holiday - Zero Waste Holiday Parties and Decorations

Posted Tue, 12/03/2019 - 08:54

For citation purposes, unless otherwise noted, this article was authored by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

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