As the holiday season approaches, you may be contemplating hosting a party at your house, and maybe you're even contemplating how to minimize the waste from such a party. We recently had a big party in our backyard, and experimented with composting the garbage. Some things we did right, and some things not as well, so I wanted to share some learnings with any of you party people out there who might be cooking up a fabulous low-waste event of your own in the next few weeks.
We don't have enough dishes and silverware for 60 people, so instead we ordered compostable plates, cups, napkins and flatware from Green Line Paper (there's probably a local supplier near you). On the day of the party, we set up the trash area with one garbage can, one recycling bin, and for the compost, we used a smaller trash can lined with a brown paper bag.
One thing we didn't do as well was to make clear signage to direct the composting, since it wasn't exactly intuitive for most folks. If I were to do this again, I'd make a big sign that says:
PLEASE COMPOST YOUR GARBAGE
1. Scrape the food from your plate into the garbage.
2. Tear your plates and cups into 4 pieces and throw them in the compost bin.
3. Throw your forks and spoons into the compost bin.
4. Thanks for feeding the worms!
We didn't actually have worms in our compost bin before, but a friend was nice enough to give us some from her kitchen worm bin to help speed up decomposition for such a large amount of stuff. If you had a well-running outdoor vermicomposting area, you could forego the plate-scraping and give the worms all the food waste (except for bones, if you had any). Even if you just have a kitchen worm bin, the torn up plates and cups make a great bedding medium for worms.
The party was great! And afterwards, we only threw one bag of garbage into the trash - and it wasn't quite full - so I'm considering the effort a success. Party on, worms.