Our first student party in our own shared flat went something like this: After the morning procrastination followed by a power nap, we made a short detour to the supermarket around the corner under the motto "Better very late than never".
The contents of the shopping cart were three cases of beer covered by a mountain of packaging in the form of chips and pretzel sticks and of course a lot of plastic cups, of which one can never have enough.
For the fresh start into the hangover Saturday and as motivation for the removal of the chaos still three bottles O-juice nebendran and off it went home.
We didn't have money for decorations or elaborate finger food back then - at least a reason for the environment to be happy.
When we look back on those days, a cold shiver runs down our spine ourselves and that's why we want to share with you in this article our best tips to make your party (almost) trash-free - 100% low budget-approved, of course!
Our free sample pack of drinking straws is the perfect choice to test our thoughtfully sustainable straws.
Sustainable from the start: The right preparation
Who doesn't know it, party rule #1? If you have drawn the lot and your place has to be used for the booze orgy (or if you voluntarily agree to do so for some reason unknown to us), then it's best to go over to rule no.2: A party is only as good as the mood of the guests.
This is a much too often underestimated point that you should definitely pay attention to when celebrating zero waste style. After all, while minimalism in partying is a way to reduce waste, you don't have to go without everything.
Let's say we've put the frozen pizza years and mate-bib nights behind us and finally have resources to decorate our apartment to some degree. Then it's time for the decorations!
Depending on the occasion of the party, you can now find out with roommates or motivated guests how sustainable elementary school art class really was. Fair-trade flowers break the budget? Off to the woods to collect rocks, moss and leaves, fourth-grade style!
We know there are always jars of jam or bockwurst lying around somewhere (does anyone actually have time to go to the dumpster?), so wash them out, take the labels off, and decorate away.
You can also simply place the potted plants you already have around a bit more prominently on windowsills and tables for flair. This way, you'll also communicate the party motto to your guests in passing. And if it is still enough for the flowers, the glasses can also be practically converted into a vase.
Garlands and confetti, just like balloons, can be found in sustainable versions in stores or can be quickly made yourself. The colorful snippets can, for example, be made from old wrapping paper, newspaper remnants or - quite advanced and for the stylish moments - from dried flowers. And when was the last time you emptied your hole punch?
Important: Don't scatter wrapping paper on the sidewalk or in the garden, otherwise you'll be spreading plastic unnecessarily!
Sustainable garlands? They also work really well, for example made of straws! With our #IAMPLASTICFREE drinking straws your decoration will not only be sustainable, but also really elegant.
The Straws 2.0 are our most effective sustainable alternative to classic petroleum-based plasticstraws. Heat resistance and reusable.
When the first three apple spritzers have been drunk and the last guests have found their way upstairs, there comes a time when the mood becomes a bit more relaxed and the party crowd spreads throughout the apartment. At the latest, this is the time when glaring ceiling lamps destroy even the best party mood in no time. This is where LED bulbs come in handy. You probably already have them in your floor lamps anyway, but strings of lights are also worth investing in, because you not only protect the environment, but also avoid unpleasant surprises on your next electricity bill.
Low budget tip: Ask your people if anyone has LED fairy lights and can provide them for the party. Reunion is a joy here, of course, so always place borrowed decorations out of reach of potential accident sites.
For other decorations, too, you can of course ask your friends. If you want to go all out and take the party three style classes higher, the remaining canning jars (yes, our glass mountains had tower potential...) with candles or tea lights can also provide the special mood. With block candles you are even more sustainable.
However, as mentioned above, this decoration is not suitable for every type of party. It can crackle between your guests, but it does not have to be a fire in the apartment.
A DIY-style decoration classic becomes a special eye-catcher at every party: the signature poster aka the scale of the apple spritzer level. Place old bed sheets or the back of poster corpses clearly visible to all guests with appropriate pens and let creativity run wild throughout the evening - high fun factor guaranteed and a souvenir included!
Zero Waste at the buffet: party snacks as a guest challenge
Sooner or later, every party guest falls into snack mode and can no longer hold back on chips and co. But to say goodbye to the mountains of garbage from our student days, there's another way to accompany the apple spritzer: make it yourself is the motto here!
Of course, it doesn't have to be the most decadent finger food; the search for simple creations usually doesn't take long. Want a few ideas? With kitchen gadgets, potatoes can be sliced in seconds and made into chips - not only waste-free, but also healthier.
Or have you ever roasted chickpeas in the oven? Soaking them yourself instead of using a package or can also saves a lot of waste. And with proteins and power spritzers, even the last gym regular no longer has an excuse to avoid the get-together. Best of all, you can let your creativity run wild with the spice mix.
The tastiest buffet is the most varied! Do something good for the environment and get rid of your leftovers. Half the peppers have been in the crisper for a week and no one knows whose open package of cheese it is? Perfect for Zero Waste is... waste!
Look in every corner to see what's left to use, do a quick smell and taste test and off you go! Serve your guests a house style salad, mini sandwiches with surprise toppings, or be the health-conscious host with fruit and veggies and cream cheese dip.
Your party is also the right time for leftover pizza, everything on the homemade dough - which, by the way, usually does not have to go so long. Your guests are guaranteed to be happy, you get rid of your leftovers and don't buy anything that isn't already there.
And believe us: someone always eats it, no matter how it looks and tastes. Alternatively, you can motivate your friends to this waste idea. Your own shared apartment is usually (luckily!) not the worst when it comes to organizing your supplies.
Your guests can get rid of their food and enrich the buffet with another highlight. If there are really no leftovers somewhere, food sharing concepts are also a conceivable alternative for both you and your guests.
And if you have to go to the supermarket for healthy snacks before the party, don't forget the good old fresh food net!
Your party will be more decadent and finger food is not an option? Then the motto is definitely regional and seasonal. Take a stroll around the farmer's market and pay a visit to the unpackaged store you trust.
Go for local fruits and vegetables from your own garden or nearby and give your guests a special treat with fresh soups and casseroles. Vegetables can also easily become a healthier chip alternative with the right seasoning and a little oil in the oven.
Stews (win, win for the gains!) like chili sin (or even con) carne or a hearty pea soup are also especially good party bases. Napkins also produce a bunch of trash, unfortunately.
We know that after two or three apple spritzers, one or two guests don't take the mindful consumption of kitchen roll quite as seriously, so it might be a good idea to have dish towels on hand for minor accidents and also for briefly drying cups or hands in between. For everything else, you can refer to the bathroom.
For special occasions, there's another stylish alternative: cloth napkins are available in a variety of designs and, when folded into shape, not only look elegant, but also serve well for several courses at the buffet.
The same applies to tableware: for sustainability, it's best to leave out all but the plates and platters of the snacks themselves. If the finger food is not quite so easy to eat with your hands, then fall back on sustainable alternatives made of (pure!) bamboo, sugar cane or wood.
Edible tableware can also be used, depending on the occasion. Likewise, for cutlery, it's worth looking for options other than plastic. But we think that at least your own cutlery can still be used by good-humored party guests without worrying, after all, you don't have to be afraid of breaking a spoon.
If you are planning a larger event in a quieter setting, you can of course use your own tableware. If the supply is not enough, guests can also bring their own dishes and cutlery.
Drinks without waste: Stylish cup alternatives with drinking straws
Most important at any party: good drinks. And where they are, disposable cups and plastic straws are usually not far behind. But there's a more sustainable way here, too!
Ice cubes, for example, can be frozen in stainless steel molds. If you want to go one step further, you can use stainless steel ice cubes or frozen fruit - they save on unnecessary decoration and provide extra refreshment at the same time.
Cooling sleeves for wine can be easily precooled in the freezer and avoid resources in the form of water or ice cubes later on.
Again, the tip: Ask your guests, someone can certainly help out.
Since we know from our own experience what sacrifices in the glass cabinet an evening can demand, we always like to use the preserving jars from our hallway corner.
Freely after the slogan "broken glass brings luck", one can get out the broom already times preventively, but save own glasses for it.
If it should be on larger events or for other reasons nevertheless disposable cups, there are also here alternatives as for example from biogenous waste materials. If you want something really classy, go for stainless steel cups.
You can find more inspiration for alternatives to disposable productshere: .
Plastic bottles for juice and soda? You can save a lot of waste here, too! Lemonades are easy (and healthier!) to make with water, sugar, herbs and fresh fruit and are a real drink favorite at any party, even without alcohol.
The same principle also works for cocktails, so try it out and enjoy! And also the self-squeezed OJ the morning after does not detract from its effect - on the contrary.
Speaking of liquids: water is best, depending on the occasion, to let guests drink from the tap or fancy glass carafes, which also saves the deposit aisle. For all you foodies: Infused water has been a real trend drink for a few years now, so why not simply pimp your water with cucumber, mint & Co to create a low carb limo that also looks good.
If you don't have time to DIY your soft drinks, you can use glass bottles for sodas, juices and water. By the way, beer in returnable bottles, preferably from the region, fits in perfectly with the sustainable idea of your party.
Hand on heart: sometimes you just want to have a straw, even if your plastic heart bleeds just thinking about it. Don't worry, there are also some alternatives, which we have already taken a closer look at for you here.
We are sure that you will find a model that suits your party. Our favorite are the #IAMPLASTICFREE drinking straws, with which you can easily bring all the positive properties of classic plastic straws into your drinks - without plastic.
Avoid waste after the party: dispose of leftovers easily
When the party is over and food and drinks are left over, the motto is: Sharing is Caring! Pack your guests solid snacks in boxes you brought yourself or give them yours to borrow as an alternative. If that's too risky, you can also rely on oilcloth.
Most of the time, the walk home or the pre-walk of shame to the next best place to sleep is often used for the early morning kebab anyway, so why not let your guests fall into bed with a clear conscience?
Alternatively, leftovers can of course be frozen. We give you tips on how to do this without plastichere . Eating leftovers on the days after the party or donating to food sharing sites can also help you get rid of your snack creations in a sustainable way. We are sure that hardly any neighbor would turn down an invitation to the former.
And after the party, it's important to separate your waste! Because even if you hope to keep your mountains of waste within limits, it's not always possible to do without it.
The rule here is that only what is well separated can also be recycled in the best case and saves time and resources. Why waste separation is also important and how to separate properly, we have explainedhere .
If you have only offered one large bag at the party to avoid piles of garbage in the apartment, it is worthwhile in any case to make another short check with subsequent separation to prevent misplaced waste.
Alternatively, you can try in advance by several containers with appropriate signage to ensure a reasonably sustainable waste separation during the party.
If the plants have not survived the evening completely unscathed, simply dispose of them in the organic waste, then the loss is at least acceptable from an ecological point of view.
The decoration was too much after all or still deserves a comeback at the next party? Confetti and garlands can be perfectly and sustainably stored in our #IAMPLASTICFREE bags , so they stay well stored in one place until the next occasion.
Our petroleum-free shopping bags are biodegradable and water soluble. For everything from your local farmer's market to wholesale.
Celebrating sustainably is easier than you think
Celebrating zero waste style always has to be elaborate, expensive and difficult to implement? Nope! A few thoughts when sending out Messenger invitations are well worth the amounts of waste saved.
Plus, you'll not only celebrate in a sustainable way with respect for the environment, but you'll also quickly turn your party into a horror for all the FOMO junkies with extraordinary food and self-made drinks.
In short, no one should miss out on a really good sustainable party. So, best bring forward the fridge check today and plan the next weekend. Which guest will come up with the most creative taste explosion in (zero)waste-WG style?