6 points for throwing a low waste Grand Final party

Thursday 19 September 2019

The MCG is a waste revolutionary just like you.

Ten years ago, it was recycling only 20 to 30% of its waste. Now, more than 83% of its 2000 tonnes of rubbish gets turned into stuff we need. It’s either put back in the ground, as fertiliser and water to feed the heritage-listed parklands surrounding the stadium or turned into bollards and furniture made from plastics.

So, if you’re hosting a Grand Final BBQ for a few mates at your place, be like the MCG: a waste revolutionary. Here’s 6 points to tell you how.

1. Get set-up to separate from the start

You’ve been sorting our waste like champions for a while now. But your non-revolutionary mates outside Yarra might not know the deal. No one wants to spend their Sunday sifting through their friends’ refuse to separate it correctly so it can be collected.

So, help your teammates help you. Make sure you’ve got separate bins for glass, recycling, food and rubbish – and make sure it’s clear what’s what. Four empty carboard boxes and a good black marker to clearly label them should do the trick as make-shift bins if you need them.

Or, so there’s no excuse for getting it wrong, print off and pin-up these posters next to your bins. Tell them: anyone getting rubbish wrong is on washing-up duty. That oughta do it.

2. Drink sustainably (and recyclable-y)

Whether sipping a soft drink, or downing something stronger, there are ways to make sure what it comes in can be reused or recycled (or to avoid waste altogether).

Local shops are taking a stand. Slowbeer in Fitzroy, let you bring your own growler for a waste-free refill of beer on tap. ReWine fill and refill bottles for takeaway with locally sourced wine straight from the barrel. Now that’s revolutionary waste-free.

For teetotallers, make big cuts in plastic waste by getting a SodaKING or SodaStream to create your own sparkling drinks (and your own flavours too: a favourite – grab a jug, pour in fizzy water, lemon juice, a spoon of sugar and a touch of cranberry juice for a bitter, pink lemonade).

Once you’re done with any disposable bottles you can’t reuse, make it easy to get them sorted. Because Yarra is the first council to separate glass from other recyclables, you may need to tell people new to the revolution, not to mix-up cans, plastics and glass bottles in the one bin, and be clear, that for plastic bottles, it’s lids off. (Hot tip: you can also recycle your bottle tops at the closest Envision drop-off point).

3. Don’t go OTT on disposable plastic cups, cutlery and straws

It’s cheaper, nicer and there’s no waste at all if you use your own crockery and cutlery. If you don’t have enough, head out (op-shop?) for some extra real plates and glasses you can use again (and again, and again). Go bamboo or metal if you really want straws.

Worried about washing-up? Start the day with an empty dishwasher, and it should take care of most of the work. Otherwise, get those mates of yours to chip in on doing the dishes. (The ones messing up your bins, or reward someone with an extra snag or two. Or a hug. Whatever works!)

4. Share leftover food with guests

Cooking for many often means leftovers. Send your mates home with a plate of goodness, (we’re thinking a real plate, or reusable container they can keep or bring back), freeze what’s left and, only if you must, send any food scraps into your green bin. Food waste uses water, energy, transport and your money. Feeding your mates, or your future-self, is always better. 

5. Recycle soft plastic packaging

If you end up with soft plastic packaging to recycle, take them to your local Woolworths or Coles and drop them off in their REDcycle bins. These bins accept a lot of different soft plastics, including biscuit packets (outer wrapper only), frozen food and veggie bags, lolly bags, chocolate wrappers and chip and cracker packets (even silver lined ones).

6. Show your mates what a totally waste-free party looks like

When you make the call or send out that text to invite people over, let your mates know that your place is a waste-free zone. If they’d like to bring something along, suggest something homemade (or, if you’re feeling game, that you only want things that come in reused/reusable containers). 

Cook for them. Show them how real food tastes. Avoid take away (that mostly comes in plastic) and any packaged ingredients. Instead fill your own containers and produce bags at your local bakery, deli-counter, butcher, fishmonger and market.

Get charcuteries in your own container at Obelix & Co in Fitzroy North and bulk chocolates, veggies chips and crackers at one of The Source Bulk Foods shops or the Friends of the Earth co-op on Smith Street. 

You can find out which food suppliers have pledged to accept your reusable containers by looking at our zero-waste map. And don’t use disposable cups, plates, cutlery, straws or even napkins (use cloth ones instead).

Go on, we dare you, to dare them. That’s revolutionary.

Share how you’ll win the war on waste on Grand Final Day, on our Yarra Waste Revolution Facebook group, and keep our movement in motion.

Read more about the Yarra Waste Revolution and find all our information to help you recycle right.


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