If you’re throwing a holiday party this year, you may run into the dilemma of how to get your guests to recycle. Well-meaning guests may accidentally throw recyclables in the trash, and at a large gathering it can be hard for you as the host or hostess to keep things under control. To prevent having to sort through your garbage can at the end of the night to dig out recyclables, follow these five guidelines to make sure the only stuff that ends up in your trash can is trash. It’ll help your sanity while also helping divert some of the extra million tons of waste we generate in the U.S. each week during the holidays from landfills.
1. Plan Ahead: Choose Easy-to-Recycle Items
One of the main reasons a guest might accidentally put something in the trash can that doesn’t belong there is because they’re uncertain whether or not it’s recyclable. And for certain sometimes-recyclable-sometimes-not items like plastic silverware and cups, who can blame them?
One easy way to stop this problem before it starts is to make sure your friends or relatives don’t have to consider this dilemma in the first place by purchasing party food and beverages that come in clearly recyclable containers. If you plan to have individual servings of soda, get aluminum cans instead of plastic bottles, since most people are used to recycling them. (This year, the recycling rate for aluminum cans reached 65%, evidence that the public is getting the hang of aluminum recycling.) Glass bottles are another good option, since glass is easy to recycle as well.
Think of this step just as you would precycling. Precycling is when you think ahead about how to reduce waste. For example, if you go to the grocery store, you can consciously buy food in containers that are easy to recycle or in bulk so you can eliminate the issue of packaging altogether. In the case of your party, you could also consider buying beverages in large containers so you can recycle the bottles yourself when they’re empty.