8 June 2016

Becca and Lia, green living friends from Cardiff, share their top tips for an environmentally friendly Big Lunch!

Two young women smiling.

Make some upcycled décor

Hosting a Big Lunch is a great opportunity to raid the contents of your bin (or your neighbour’s) to see what decorations you could make for your party. You might be surprised how easy it is to make bunting from old scraps of material or even magazines or giant pom poms from old newspapers. You could even dress the tables with flowers made from toilet roll tubes and old jam jars. The possibilities are endless, so pop onto Pinterest and get inspired.

Stay away from plastic and polystyrene plates and cups

Now this can be tricky, especially if you are expecting lots of people to come to your Big Lunch; the thought of all that washing up could easily make you resort to cheap throw away cups and plates, but don’t do it! Many plastics and polystyrene cannot be recycled and take more than 450 years to decompose in a landfill. But don’t worry, there are some great alternatives out there, including cups, plate and even cutlery made from compostable plant-based materials that can be popped straight into your food waste bin or even on your compost heap. We get all our plates, cups and cutlery for our events from Vegware, but there are lots to choose from. Another alternative is to ask everyone to bring a few bits of older kitchenware to the party, which brings me on to my next point….

Swap and share with your neighbours

This is a great opportunity to find out what resources are already on your street. You might not need to buy plates or hire tables and chairs at all if you just knock on a few doors and chat to your neighbours. After all, that's what The Big Lunch is all about. Why not make a big list of everything you need for your party and then pop a note through your neighbours’ doors asking what people are able to lend? You might be pleasantly surprised and it will help keep the cost and the environmental impact of your party down.

If this works well you might even want to set up a more permanent street sharing system for things like garden equipment, tools, books and kitchenware. Platforms like Streetlife and Olio and can help you do this.

Use your leftovers and manage your waste

Plan carefully so that you don’t make way too much food. Don’t bring all the food out at once. What’s left in the fridge can be used the next day or shared out among your neighbours. Make tortilla, frittata or stir fry with leftover veggies and meat. However, even with careful planning, there is likely to be some food left over on people’s plates. Bring out a few bins, all labelled up, so that people can compost excess food, and recycle cardboard etc. Encourage your party goers to clean up after themselves and use the bins correctly. This way you won’t be left with too much mess at the end of the day, and can sit back and enjoy your successful Big Lunch.

For more tips on how to keep waste low at your Big Lunch or community event, check out our guide here

Swap and share with your neighbours. This is a great opportunity to find out what resources are already on your street.