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!