Guess Post by Party Kit Network
There is a growing community of people across the UK who are taking action against single-use plastic. With a party for 30 kids using an average of over 100 single-use items for just one party, switching to reusables is a great way to make parties more sustainable.
The problem with disposable tableware
Disposable paper plates are popular because they’re colourful and make tidying up a piece of cake. But they are often made of mixed materials which includes a plastic coating. Together with food debris this means they can’t be recycled and use a lot of our planet’s precious resources.
A paper plate can take between 5 and 20 years to decompose in landfill - that’s a really long time for just one party. By switching to reusables we can reduce the amount of waste from single-use plastic.
What is a party kit?
A party kit is a box of reusable tableware and decorations lent to the local community. There are over 400 party kits across the UK run independently by people from home, small local businesses and community groups, such as school PTAs.
The box has everything you need for a party - so no extra trips to the shop or last minute panics. And it's often cheaper to hire a party kit than buy the equivalent equipment as disposables, which is a win for both your budget and the environment!
The Party Kit Network
The Party Kit Network is a nonprofit organisation working to connect party planners with their local party kit. The network was founded by Isabel Mack in June 2019 after discovering the party kit concept and in just 8 months grew to over 400 party kits across the UK.
In just one day, all the party kits in the network could save over 40,000 single-use items from landfill.
But what about all that plastic?
Currently the safest, most affordable and durable tableware is still made of plastic. Many of the party kits for kids parties include the popular IKEA plates.
While it’s not perfect we are looking at ways to recycle plastic tableware at end-of-life and some kits are made up of entirely secondhand equipment further reducing their impact on the environment. There are kits who offer bamboo and other planet-based equipment however, the key is that all the equipment included in party kits is reusable. They are designed to be used again and again, each time reducing their impact on the planet.
Tips for reducing plastic waste at parties
Hire a party kit - find your local kit on the Party Kit Network website
Switch to reusable decorations - many of the party kits include decorations like bunting, but you can also make your own using felt, pom poms or old birthday cards. For more ideas check out this blog post.
Avoid food packaging waste by buying from refill stores (find your local store on Zero Waste Near Me) and avoiding pre-prepared food. By buying loose fruit and veg and making your own sandwiches you can further reduce packaging - if you don’t have much time, rope in a friend to help with prep.
You can recycle crisp packets via Terracycle schemes, and some party kits will accept food packaging waste for recycling.
If you’re interested in setting up a party kit for your own community there is a downloadable guide available here… https://www.partykitnetwork.uk/getting-started