We all know that reducing our impact on the planet is increasingly important, but it’s not all doom and gloom – the good news is that these sustainable swaps will make it easy to do your bit, and they’ll help you to save a few pennies too!
We’ve got lots of ideas below, but just doing one of these will help reduce your event’s impact on the environment!
Do it digitally
Save on printing costs and resources by organising your Big Lunch digitally.
There’s a social media graphic in your pack which you can share in your neighbourhood Whatsapp or Facebook group to advertise your Big Lunch. Look through all the materials available to download and consider carefully which (if any) will be useful to print out for your event! If you do decide to print anything, try to use recycled paper where you can.
For anyone in your community who’s unlikely to see an invitation online you could always pop a note through their letterbox to let them know they’re invited!
Swap and share
Keep it simple and ask everyone to bring their own plate, cutlery and mug – it saves buying disposable or single use items.
If you need some bigger things bringing along like tables, chairs or serving dishes, make a list and pop a note through your neighbours’ doors asking what people are able to lend. You might be pleasantly surprised by how much you can source this way and it will help keep the cost and the environmental impact of your event down.
Still need a few bits and bobs? The neighbourhood network, Nextdoor, has a ‘For Sale and Free’ section that is just the place to look, you could ask in your local WhatsApp group or Facebook page if you have one, or reach out to local businesses or cafes to see if they have equipment you could borrow.
If you’re hosting a larger event at a venue that doesn’t come with what you need, the Community Interest Company Party Kit network lists details of reusable party kits (including plates, bowls, table linen and more) available to hire across the country.
Grow your own
There’s nothing better than knowing exactly where your foods come from, and you can’t get more locally sourced than from your own garden.
You can sow delicious veggies from February onwards and they’ll be ready to harvest for a summer Big Lunch. Take a look at our planting guide (including free booklet) and whip up a delicious vegetable dish for the street when the big day comes.
If you do need to get bits for your Big Lunch, take a look in your nearest charity shop before buying new.
Charity shops are a great place to pick up things like crockery, games and picnic blankets, so try to resist the urge to click and collect, make a list of what you need and go have a rummage locally instead! You can use the Charity Retail Association website to find your local charity shop.
Charity shops generate an incredible £330m for good causes and harness the skills of more than 233,000 volunteers nationwide each year. That’s an effort worth supporting!
‘There is great interest over what we can do to help the planet, and I think that it has to start locally. Often we hear things coming from the top and it’s not relatable but if you take it down to the details of what we can do ourselves, we can put it into practice and involve our children.’Margaret
Make some upcycled décor
Hosting a Big Lunch is a great opportunity to raid the contents of your recycling (or your neighbour’s) to see what decorations you could create for your party!
You might be surprised how easy it is to make bunting from pieces of materials or giant pom poms from old newspapers or magazines, plus they’re great reusable alternatives to balloons. Why not invite people to get together ahead of your Big Lunch and craft as a community to create your décor?
Need some inspiration? We’ve got lots of ideas, templates, and instructions on how to make decorations from paper (update to household items when ready), from paper chains and decorated jam jars, to flowers made from toilet roll tubes – the possibilities are endless!
Waste not, want not
Ask people to RSVP and plan carefully with your neighbours so that you don’t make or bring way too much food. Make sure you have a stack of tupperware to hand to easily sort leftovers so people can take them away (and encourage people to do so!).
Sites such as Olio are brilliant for quickly listing food for collection, while any unopened, non-perishable items can be taken to your local foodbank.
Start conversations about nature
One of the first steps to supporting the natural world is caring about it, so bringing your community along with you can help everyone to understand the role they can play. A Big Lunch is a great way to start the journey! Perhaps your Big Lunch is a picnic in your local park, or you could do a litter pick or a short neighbourhood walk.
Help your community connect with the nature in your local area by encouraging everyone to get out and notice what’s nearby. Your Big Lunch is also a great opportunity to find others near you who feel similarly about wanting to protect the planet and make your community greener.
Fundraise for a better world
We’d love for you to fundraise for us or another cause close to your heart!
Thanks to the amazing organisers and neighbourhoods who join in every year, over £87 million has been raised for good causes through Big Lunches since 2015, with over 3/4 of that going to local charities or causes. How amazing is that?!
Did you know that your Big Lunch fundraising can seed even more fundraising? As a charity Eden Project Communities relies on external funding to keep our events and Big Lunch resources free and accessible to all.
Get your Big Lunch pack
It’s full of handy downloadable resources and exclusive content to help you plan and host your Big Lunch.
We can’t wait to see where your Big Lunch might take you!