The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority in New York offers the following tips to minimize waste, increase recycling and save money on summer parties.
• Fill up pitchers of water, lemonade and iced tea instead of buying large quantities of personal-sized beverage containers. This not only reduces waste, but saves money.
• Buy in bulk: Purchase large bags of chips and large bottles of ketchup and other condiments rather than individually packaged items. This will cost less money and will result in a lot less packaging waste.
• Encourage recycling by placing clearly labeled recycling bins next to garbage cans. Keep the bins side by side to increase recycling. The Authority offers recycling containers for use at special community events.
• Solo cups: Make sure party guests are aware that plastic cups can be recycled. All plastic bottles, cups and containers (excluding Styrofoam, prescription medicine bottles and motor oil bottles) can be placed in your recycling bin.
• Avoid Styrofoam: Reusable plates and bowls are always the best choice, but if you are choosing disposable plates and bowls, avoid Styrofoam. Styrofoam cannot be placed in the recycling bin. Paper plates are a better alternative to Styrofoam; although they are not recyclable, they will take much less time to break down. Look for biodegradable and recycled-content paper goods.
• Propane tanks: Whether you’re using a one-pound or 100-pound propane tank, never place the tank in your recycling container or garbage can.
• Garden hoses: Garden hoses are not accepted for recycling and should be placed in your regular garbage for disposal.
• Grill with the lid down; it is more energy efficient, helps distribute heat thoroughly and ensures even cooking.
• Clean your grill while it’s still hot using baking soda to avoid using cleaners with phosphates or harsh fumes.
• Pack up leftovers: When the party comes to an end, pack leftovers in reusable containers or use aluminum foil as an alternative to plastic wrap and baggies. Clean aluminum foil can be placed in your recycling bin, unlike plastic wrap.
• Use rechargeable batteries for your radios, flashlights and other outdoor devices.
• Choosing organic foods, using e-vites versus snail mail invitations and making homemade decorations in place of store-bought decorations can help to round off the finishing touches of your “green” barbecue.
“If each family in Oneida and Herkimer Counties made a couple of small changes at their summer gatherings, the total impact on waste reduction and recycling would be tremendous,” said Jamie Tuttle, the solid waste authority’s recycling educator.
“By reducing our region’s waste and increasing recycling, we not only preserve landfill space, but conserve valuable natural resources and energy,” Tuttle added.