Minimalist and nearo waste parties and events

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Do you dread party planning because it seems super overwhelming or expensive?

Parties and events can be budget- and environmentally-friendly.

If you want to see how it's possible to throw a simple bash, read on!

On The Gatherings podcast, you can hear me, Jessica of Sweet Love and Ginger, and my good friend Chrystina of Chrystina Noel discuss the logistics and planning of minimalist and nearo waste parties.

Minimalist and Zero Waste Part Planning Tips

Lately, I'm hosting way more parties and get togethers than I ever would've imagined. While parties used to happen to me, I'm now making the conscious decision to host people, especially now that we're in the new house. Having loved ones around is the perfect way for our family to unwind.

Enjoy these tips on how to host minimal and near zero waste party, and make sure to listen to the podcast for the full story!

Food and Drink for a Minimalist Party

Admittedly, most of the events we host are pizza parties for the family. This is far from nearo waste since pizza boxes are shunned from recycling bins in some areas (because of the grease-stained cardboard). This pisses me off, but what can you do? Pizza parties are minimalist by nature though, since they are quick and easy.

Onto more complicated events....

Nearo Waste Food for Events

When you plan a party or a get together, you can err on the side of buying foods that will create the least amount of waste. This can be done in a few ways:

  • Buy produce with the least amount of packaging.
  • Buy fresh and local.
  • Opt for non-complicated recipes that won't involve buying a ton of ingredients you need to buy for just this one event.
  • When you can control it, have an event during an off-meal time so you don't have to worry about an entree.
  • For each course, aim for about one or two options (appetizer, dessert, entree).

Minimalist Drinks

It's not just beer, wine, and liquor anymore! With kids and folks who don't drink alcohol, you can have juice and other options on hand.

Here's what I recommend for a minimalist party in terms of beverages:

  • Offer one bottle of / type of wine. Folks may BYOB anyway, and wine tends to be a popular choice when guests bring something.
  • Gather those growlers and get them filled up at a local brewery. Nearo waste win!
  • Create a big batch of unsweetened iced tea the night before, and have it ready in a pitcher.
  • Have seltzer water on hand; these are wildly popular for our frequent guests! Even better... invest in a seltzer machine and save on aluminum can waste.
  • Buy juice for kids in a jug instead of individual juice boxes or pouches. This creates a lot less waste by using less straws and packaging.

Serving Food and Drinks

When serving, use the real plates, glasses, and flatware you already own. Simple as that!

If you don't have enough place settings for a larger party, consider investing in supplies to match what you already have. (As I write this, I feel like a huge hypocrite because at our most recent party, I threw my tail between my legs and asked Chris to go out and buy paper plates and plastic utensils, because it was cheaper than buying a few more boxes of flatware and plates… however for the next big event we have I'll make sure to save up for those items and buy them ahead of time.)

Keep a chalk marker or a china marker (wax pencil) on hand so guests can mark their glass. It will wash off in the dishwasher or sink.

Decor and Party Themes for Minimalists

Okay, this may take the wind out of your sails here: I generally avoid all themed parties and decor. Buying items that will only be used once or that will take up room in a closet for years afterwards weighs heavily on the soul (and the wallet, and the garbage bin).

In the end, people will remember the social interactions and the kids' antics more than the streamers you had.

Themed parties can be fun, but you might want to stay away from them to avoid putting pressure on guests to match the theme or outdo other guests.

If you want to provide something fun that will provide a lot of value but won't be wasteful, you can offer a fun photo booth with reusable props in lieu of a themed party.

Minimalist Events: No Gift Policy

Minimalists are nearly impossible to buy gifts for. So, make it easy on your guests and create and enforce a no-gift policy! If you're planning something big like a wedding, opt for a honeymoon or house down pament fund instead. Or, if you're all set up financially, ask guests to donate to a charity in your name.

If your guests insist on bringing something, ask them to bring an easy dish so it can help lighten your load. Minimalists generally love consumables too, so feel free to get them a jar of local honey, a box of exotic tea, etc. Also, most people love a beautiful plant or succulent.

How do you execute low-key and low-waste parties?

Cover photo by Tracey Hocking