Last year, Rubicon took a closer look at what the League was doing to turn the Big Game into what we consider a Sustain-a-Bowl. Now we challenge you to take a page from their playbook by making your upcoming Game Day party a sustainable and responsible event that we can all be proud to host.
Since the party is in our backyard in the ATL, here is a simple 5-play sustainable game plan that will give everyone something to cheer for next month.
Kickoff: Save Paper, Send eVites
Think about all of the paper invitations you have received in your life. Now think about where those invitations ended up. Here’s hoping that they at least made their way to the recycling bin, but chances are that some of them ended up in a landfill. To avoid creating Game Day invitations with the same fate, ditch the paper and send evites instead!
These days, there are a plethora of websites that allow you to create, personalize, and send your invitations with a single click of a button. Some of these sites even double down on their sustainable efforts (Greenvelope donates a percentage of every sale to Mountains to Sound – a non-profit focused on the health of our mountain forests).
First Down: Plan your party shopping errands
Before you jump in the car to gather the supplies you need for the big day, make sure that you have a plan that will allow you to make one trip. Less time in the car and fewer trips to multiple locations means fewer carbon emissions and less air pollution.
Here are a couple of pre-planning tips to help you gain errand yardage:
Make a list: This action might seem self-explanatory, but it is so important that we need to talk about it. Taking the time to create a well thought out list is the key to efficiency and ultimately, sustainability.
Collaborate with everyone hosting the party: Making your list with everyone working who is hosting/bringing items will eliminate redundancy and over-purchasing. This list will be a great way to combat food waste and give your guests options.
Second Down: Skip the disposables
People turn to disposable plates, bowls, cups, and utensils for efficiency, effortlessness, and to ensure there are enough settings for all attendees. This year we challenge you to be disposable- free. Share your sustainable party plans with your guests and encourage a little party teamwork!
You might not have enough plates, bowls, cups, and utensils for everyone on your own; but if you ask your guests to bring some extras, you will have more than enough before the party gets started. This will not only ensure fewer items go to the landfill, but it will also plant the sustainable seed in the minds of your guests. When they see how easy (oh, and did we mention cost-effective?!) it is to divert waste, they might just be inspired to do the same for any future parties they plan.
If you absolutely must use single-use items, make a point to choose recyclable and compostable options and have the right disposal options lined-up.
Third Down: Make food, but not too much food…
Having food at your Game Day party is expected, but having way more than you need is not responsible. Here are a few tips to make sure you have a festive spread that won’t end with excessive food waste.
Finger foods are your friends: Finger foods give you control over the amount you prepare and put out for your guests to enjoy. Heating foods like mini pizzas or pigs in blankets can be warmed as needed, so you are never creating waste by making too many in advance.
Make your dips and add to serving bowls when they get low: It might be tempting to buy a tub of dip for your party (if you do this, don’t forget to opt for recyclable packaging); but you can also make your own and top your serving bowls off as needed. If you do buy your dips, try putting a cup out at a time. Dips that sit out for the entire game are usually less appealing and often go in the trash or contaminate a recycling bin.
Make leftover friendly foods: If you make slow cooker foods (like fan-favorite chili), you can easily plan for extra storage. Party extras can always become dinners and lunches later in the week.
Donate if you can: A lot of times, people over purchase ingredients for elaborate dishes and end up with unopened cans and boxes that never entirely made their way onto the plate. Give these pantry staples a new life by donating to your local canned food bank or prepared food drives.
Fourth Down: Remember the game is the focus
It might be tempting to buy that Big Game single-use plastic tablecloth, football-shaped straws, or a mylar Game Day balloon; but think about the landfill fate of these items postgame. While having a well-decorated party can add ambiance, don’t forget that the focus of this specific party is the game! No one will fault you for lack of single-use football flare – primarily if you have communicated your sustainable intentions.
Touchdown: Recycle and compost
Because hosting a sustainable Game Day party doesn’t necessarily mean zero waste, make sure that you set out marked bins for recycling and composting before your guests arrive.
If you want to go the extra mile for your recycling, you could post a sign asking everyone to rinse their recyclable items before putting them in the bin. For composting – don’t forget that collecting organic waste starts during your preparation for the party (onion peels, egg shells, etc.). And if you don’t compost yourself don’t worry! Before the party starts to check to see if your community has a composting center or if you have a neighbor or friend who would like to take your organic waste to the big show (a.k.a. their compost piles).
Read more of waste reduction tips in our RUBICONMethod Guide.