So, you want to host a dinner party. Like any other celebration, a dinner party is one that requires time planning… and a lot of resources. And while the celebration is wonderful in the moment, it’s not hard to cringe when you imagine lugging huge trash bags to your curbside bin after all is said and done. However, what if there was a better way to congregate and eat, a more eco-friendly way to throw a celebratory bash that didn’t require landfill waste and food waste? Did your ears prick up? Read on.
Waste involving the kitchen is no small matter. In fact, at least one third of food produced globally will be thrown away, amounting to over 1.3 billion tons of waste. In the United States, this accounts for nearly $680 billion in losses. Single-use products made predominantly from plastics overwhelmingly find their way into waterways or the ocean and account for over 335 million tons of worldwide garbage waste. It’s time to do better. That starts at home and in our kitchens. While there are plenty of things you can do to implement sustainability at home (taking shorter showers, not eating meat, etc.), we’re talking about how to keep your events sustainable with the following products.
For Your Table
Being eco-friendly doesn’t mean you need to skimp on ambiance. Skip out on candles with nasty paraffins and unnatural scents and opt for Bee Organic Beeswax Pillar Candles, a beautiful addition to your perfectly set tableau. Available in a wide variety of scents, Bee Organic also offers unscented for when you’d like the savory smells of your meal to speak for themselves. Candles are made to be soot free, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic in addition to completely organic with a 100% non-GMO cotton wick. The best part? These candles produce negative ions, cleaning the air around them — helpful, if your party conversation takes a turn for the political.
Eco-friendly olive oil enthusiasts who are less than excited about buying bottle after bottle of the liquid gold should keep an eye out for the Misto Aluminum OO Sprayer. The BPA-free aluminum sprayer can be filled with olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, sherry, etc… and can be used to mist dressing over salads, breads or stir fry dishes. There are no chemical propellants and the inner cartridge is refillable, so there is no waste.
If you want to look cute serving from the kitchen but also be eco-conscious, a great place to start is with an environmental apron company. Yes, they exist! Hedley & Bennett provide quality products for chefs and home cooks alike that range from aprons to apparel to chef’s gear. Based in Vernon, California, Hedley & Bennett is committed to domestic production (which cuts down on shipping and packaging pollution) and recycled fabrics and wrapping papers. In addition, some aprons are made from recycled plastic, such as Sprite bottles. Now, there’s a way to have your cake and wear it, too.
Dishware makes a big difference when you’re thinking about sustainability as well. After all, it’s nice to know that what you’re using — and serving on — is healthy for our planet. For a more casual dinner party or one themed to the outdoors, consider Mann Bamboo, zero-waste dishes made solely from bamboo pulp and without chemicals, dies and additives. For daily and fine dining use, look to a local — or domestic — ceramics or potter’s shop. These locales are often small-craft based with an emphasis on process and sustainability, rather than purely on output. We love both Heath Ceramics, based out of Sausalito, CA and Pigeon Toe Ceramics from Bend, Oregon, for the gorgeous dishes, cups, plates and other wares. If your taste tends more traditional, you’ll likely gravitate more toward the muted palates and gorgeous shapes of Health Ceramics, but if you trend more colorful and quirky, Pigeon Toe is the shop for you.
Sustainable linens are no easy feat, as fabric production is one of the most environmentally degrading industries out there. However, there are companies looking to switch up the status quo and one that’s been fighting the food fight for nearly 30 years is Coyuchi, which produces linens for every corner of your home, but most beautifully for your dining room table. You can choose from an assortment of beautiful linen napkins, jute place mats, organic cotton napkins, or opt for quirkier styles that involve fringe, stitching and ribbons.
We bet you’d be hard-pressed to find out if your favorite flatware is sustainable or not. But chances are, it isn’t. Cheaply bought flatware can contain all sorts of questionable metal mixes and potentially toxins, not to mention that they’re not the healthiest thing to make. But at Liberty Tabletop, products are made using exclusively American-based steel and forged without lead, mercury or other toxins. Quality compounds are mixed with the metals to create a workable product, and the power to do so is provided by Niagara Falls’ hydroelectric pump. Domestic raw products, energy and labor is what makes Liberty Tabletop such an eco-friendly company as it cuts down on middlemen and long shipping costs, hours and pollutants.
For Your Kitchen
When the party’s over, it can be tempting to reach for plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover uneaten food. But plastic wrap and single use plastics are quickly becoming the most egregious addition to global garbage stats, weighing in at over 14 million tons of waste in the past few years. Consider combatting with a lightweight alternative made from cloth and beeswax that will help you seal containers, preserve the freshness of fruits and vegetables and keep bread and other pastries soft. It’s called Bee’s Wrap, and it’s adorable, functional, reusable and it supports our bee friends — it’s a win-win-win-win. Those concerned with preserving the freshness of half-used produce should also reach for Food Huggers Reusable Silicone Food Savers that greatly preserve the shelf-life of produce and prevents food waste.
The clean-up continues. While paper towels are easy to use in a pinch when cleaning up a kitchen that looks more like a war zone, paper towels make up a huge portion of American waste. For instance, every day, Americans throw away over 3,000 tons of paper towels. Consider that to make one ton of paper towels, manufacturers must cut down 17 trees and consume 20,000 gallons of water. There’s got to be a better way, and there is. There are a couple of alternatives, including Utopia Kitchen Flour-Sack Kitchen Towels and GenerationMe Paperless Towels. These options are a more old-school approach to kitchen cleaning, but are no less effective than your classic PT. They’re both made from thin sheets of fabric that are incredible absorbent and easy to clean afterward. If you’re insistent on an absorbent product that you can throw away (perhaps to clean a felled glass of red wine), consider something like Grove Collaborative’s Seedling Tree-Free Paper Towels, which are made from ultra absorbent Bamboo pump. This pack has six rolls with 75 large sheets that equate to 150 conventional paper towel sheets, meaning more bang for your buck and the opportunity to be eco-friendly.
It’s safe to say that plastic bags are our number-one nemesis as related to kitchen and food-based waste. Over 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used each year, and we recycle — on average —one in 200. To combat the plastic bag influx, more and more shoppers are turning to recyclable bags and other shopping items, like Colony Co. Reusable Produce Bags ,Vejibag Reusable Vegetable Preservation Bags and the Stoncel Cotton Net Tote. Used for shopping and for storing small vegetables and herbs, these bags are all machine-washable and provide cooks with an opportunity to store their food in materials other than plastic. Plus, if you shop from a bulk market without plastic packaging, you’re eliminating a heck of a lot of plastic footprint.
We hope you enjoyed our roundup of the most eco-friendly products for a successful dinner party! Check out EditFeast on Instagram