Take Action: Hosting a "green" party
Center for Sustainability
Whether you are a hardworking SCU student, faculty, or staff member, chances are you like to relax and have fun! Here are tips to assist you in your party-planning endeavors for the summer.
When it comes to buying for a party, what’s the best way to reduce waste? Your typical options range from glass bottles, aluminum cans, and kegs. When it comes to single use beverage receptacles, aluminum trumps glass. Though aluminum is more energy intensive to produce than glass, 96% of an aluminum can be recycled compared to a mere 24% for glass bottles. Additionally, glass bottles are significantly heavier than aluminum cans, which contributes to higher carbon emissions released in the transportation of the bottles. No matter your choice for single use containers, be sure to try out local breweries like Sierra Nevada, which is the only brewery in the U.S. to implement a compost system on its various hop and barley fields; Devil’s Canyon Brewing which received San Mateo County’s Business Sustainability Award; and Gordon Biersch San Jose, which received a San Jose Business Sustainability Award in 2014. Consciously purchasing brands such as these is more convenient and avoids contributing to the environmental impact of cross-country beer transportation.
Selecting aluminum cans over glass bottles may be better because of the quick turnaround on recyclability; however, they are still only designed for single use. If we’re looking at the most sustainable option as far as buying beer goes, kegs are the winners. A draft beer keg has a service life of 30 years and can serve up to 27,000 12 oz. glasses of beer in its lifetime; that’s equivalent to 1,125 24-packs of 12-oz. beer! Kegs can be rented and are reusable, so you as a host will be creating zero waste in your home, assuming everyone brings their own cup. Consider hosting a gathering in which guests must bring their own personal cup as well as any other reusables for food. Not only would this cut out the need to buy single-use cups, plates, etc., but the personal attachment that people have to their belongings could make them more wary of taking their things with them, leaving little to none be composted, recycled, or washed the next day! Additionally, look for products and packaging that can be reused, or even recycled, for all other party items.
Having guests bring their own cups and dishware also applies to the potluck-style dinner gathering, where guests bring a food dish for a communal dinner and leave with their personal dishes, leaving you with less to wash! BYO (bring-your-own plates, silverware, cups, etc.) is the most convenient and sustainable approach to enact with any kind of food or drink gathering. Implementing these practices will have you and your guests enjoying the summer in an all-around respectful way.
Contributed by Alec Kwo' 16, Sustainability Intern for Student Engagement