Zero Waste Bachelorette Party

When I think bachelorette I think…

  • Strippers
  • Vomiting
  • Girls Kissing Bartenders and other girls?
  • Shots, Shots, Shots and LOTS of alcohol
  • WASTE (and wasted)

… and so when I was tasked with being the Maid of Honor for my cousin’s wedding, it meant that I had to be involved with planning the bachelorette party. I had a moment of panic (refer to above bullet points) So HTF do you plan a bachelorette party without waste? Here’s how.

I did a few things to ensure that the festivities were sustainable for our beach weekend bachelorette getaway and it basically all came down to planning. The three main topics I will focus on are bridesmaids goodies, food, and alcohol.

Bridesmaids Goodies:

I made bags of zero waste gifts from Package Free Shop for all of the women that were on the trip to ensure that they had all of the sustainable tools that they needed. I included a tote bag filled with:

  • Stainless Steel Straws
  • Mason Jars
  • Plastic Free Sunscreen from Raw Elements
    • For 15% off use code ‘trashisfortossers15
  • Sustainable Condoms from Sustain
    • For 40% off use code ‘trashisfortossers
  • Pain Killers
  • Bag to put everything in

I also went around Brooklyn and bought a bunch of secondhand sun hats that I put out on the table and had all of the girls pick their favorites and then they took them home.

For decorations, one of the other bridesmaids made a super cute DIY Instagram Picture Window that is 100% paper and can be recycled and/or composted.

Food:

For food we shopped ahead and got lots of greens and prepared food to cook at home. It is important to compost and recycle to prevent waste. We also went to restaurants that served local and organic food.

Alcohol:

  • At the house
    • Focus on alcohol that comes in cans in boxes for beer (they don’t have the plastic rings) and aluminum is very recyclable.
    • If you are going to get wine or champagne, try to look for bottles that have glass corks (they are 100% recyclable) or natural corks (you can recycle them at Whole Foods).
    • Be sure to create a recycling section
  • At bars or restaurants:
    • Ask for your cocktails without straws or skewers
    • If you are ordering beer, always opt for draft
    • If the bar only has plastic cups, be sure to bring your mason jar or stainless steel cup with you (the stainless steel cup is also beach friendly for resorts that don’t allow glass)
  • For Hangovers 
    • I gave all of the girls little pouches of painkillers that I took from a 100% recyclable bottle.
    • Coffee is King (I buy bulk coffee, but if you are going out for coffee, be sure to have your mason jar)!
    • To get some throw up stains out of sheets or clothing or towels (don’t pretend you haven’t been there) use The Simply Co. to pretreat stains and then wash.

Ultimately, bachelorette parties are absolutely shit-shows so taking a few precautions before the alcohol starts flowing is always a good idea because the parties are always better when you are getting wasted as opposed to making a ton of waste.

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Zero Waste Coffee To-Go

I am absolutely addicted to coffee. I drink multiple cups every single day and while sometimes I make it at home, other times I grab it on the go.

But how do I get to-go coffee without a disposable cup? Easy!

I bring my own . Check out this video to see how I buy coffee single use package free. You can do it with a reusable coffee cup or mason jar.

REMEMBER don’t be afraid of looking weird for asking for something in a reusable cup. You are a BADASS doing something that is amazing for the environment (and your wallet because a lot of coffee shops will give discounts for people who bring their own cups). If someone gives you a look for doing something different,  it is not something to be ashamed of. You could be doing something they have never seen before, so think about it in a way that makes you a teacher, showing someone something new, and be proud. You rock!

Cup in this video is from http://ecoff.ee

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How to Compost Anywhere

One of the best ways that I avoid sending trash to landfill is by composting. If you haven’t heard of composting before, it is essentially taking organic waste (food, yard trimmings, paper) and breaking it down into soil again using heat, time, and sometimes worms (also known as vermicomposting). In the United States, based on the EPA chart below, 14% of our landfill waste is composed of food waste that could be composted. In addition to food waste, we could also compost yard trimmings, wood, and paper, so we have the potential to be composting 61.3 percent of what we are currently sending to landfills, cutting our nation wide landfill waste IN HALF. Composting is easy, fun, and natural and in this video I will show you how I do it in my Brooklyn apartment so you, too, can compost wherever you live.

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How to Shop at the Farmers Market Without Producing Waste

When I first started living a Zero Waste lifestyle I had never really shopped at a farmers market before. It seemed intimidating, scary, and overwhelming. But a few simple shopping hacks made it a lot easier and made buying food go from a super wasteful, time consuming process, to one that is easy and totally waste free! Check out this video to see how I shop at the farmers market.

Step 1: Big Stuff, Big Bag. Any large items don’t need a bag of their own, just throw them in your tote!
Step 2: Small Stuff, Small Bag. Any small loose items can be put into smaller organic cotton reusable bags, or any smaller reusable bag you have (or make!)
Step 3: Reuse containers whenever possible. This works well for berries, eggs, and other items that might have a container. Bring them back to the farmer so they can reuse them.
Step 4: Pay in cash to avoid receipts.
Step 5: Napkins double as a great way to buy bread and pastries package free!

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Documentaries That Changed My Life

I’ve watched basically every environmental documentary out there, and I recommend educating yourself as much as possible, but this shortlist is all of the documentaries that changed my mindset massively and helped to inform my opinion on many things.

Gasland directed by Josh Fox was the documentary that got me to start using my voice as a tool to inspire environmental change. After seeing it I became very involved in anti-fracking activism which helped me to become trash free! A must see.


King Corn follows Ian and Curt as they try to learn where their food comes from. To do this they end up planting a hectare of corn. The process of doing this and what they end up with was one of my main motivators for becoming a vegetarian.


Food Inc.  – must see.


No Impact Man – This documentary follows Colin as he lives without making an impact (this isn’t totally true as he still uses fossil fuels) but it’s a pretty cool doc.


An Inconvenient Truth –  The climate is changing.


Check them out, let me know what you think!!

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My Ultimate Reading List

I am extremely grateful and thankful  to have received a degree in Environmental Studies from NYU. It is where I got a lot of my foundational science education that really helped to shape the way I think about things from a systems perspective. However, most of my knowledge on sustainability came not from school, but from reading.

I am a big believer that school isn’t how we become well versed in something, it is a hunger for learning and a desire to constantly challenge and enrich ourselves. I have included the names of the books that have helped me to grow and expand as well as a link to where you can buy them secondhand on Amazon (I know, they aren’t the best)… so I suggest first getting books at a local library, then purchasing books secondhand or on an e-reader if you have one. If you buy books secondhand online, remember to ask the seller if they can package it plastic free in an envelope as opposed to a plastic mailer. They are typically very accommodating.

The book that started it all for me: 


Silent Spring by Rachel Carson: The book that was published in a series of 3 excerpts in the New Yorker in 1962 that led to the banning of DDT and helped to start the environmental movement.

Animal Agriculture/Food


Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer: After becoming a father, Jonathan Safran Foer looked into why we eat animals and the stories behind them. This book is top 10 for me.


Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan: Through the question of what to have for dinner, Pollan looks at our food system and how America eats.


In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan: This book looks at the American Paradox- the more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become. He suggest a “new” diet that looks in the direction of making thoughtful food choices.


Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser: A look into the American fast food industry.


Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé: a look into not only how what we eat affects us, but the world.

Sociology/Business/Economics/Other 


Flammable by Javier Auyero and Debora Alejandra Swistun: The impact of a large oil corporation on an Argentine shantytown.


Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher: A statement against “bigger is better” industrialism.


Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough: Remaking the Way We Make Things.


Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond: Geography shapes the destiny of the world.


Natural Capitalism by Paul Hawkens: how businesses can be both profitable and environmentally responsible.

Collapse by Jared Diamond: How and why societies fail.


The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard: The impact of overconsumption on the environment, economy, and our health.


The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs

Enjoy these books and please let me know if you have any additions that I might have missed!

 

 

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