Six Months #plasticfree….. Birthday parties, Slim Jims and dinner party small talk

So it’s six months since I did my #plasticfreeweek and rather fittingly #plasticfreejuly when I find myself sitting next to a sartorially elegant gentleman at a dinner party, Aperol Spritz in hand, I turn and say…

“Since I’ve started avoiding plastic on food and drink my waste has reduced by 84 per cent”.

I should be worried by this strange occurrence, but I am actually continually delighted by the almost magical reduction in the size of my bin requirements!!

Sartorial gentleman made a suitably interested response to open the #plasticfree floodgates … “And I’ve had a birthday party and a bin strike and my bin still isn’t half full”. (Fingers crossed I’ve not been barred from polite society after this level of interesting dinner party small talk).

Throwing a birthday party did pose a few #plasticfree problems but after tussling with the moral dilemma,
I decided that to have avoided single use plastic for more than five months, it would be rather obtuse to celebrate a birthday by being awash with the stuff again.

I got on Facebook to find out if anyone had re-useable plastic glasses …. The joys of social media meant within a day or two I had a selection of robust, reusable plastic champagne and wine glasses … thereby avoiding glass breakages at an outdoor party without resorting to single-use plastic alternatives. There wasn’t a single breakage (therefore zero waste). I decided to use my vintage china plates (zero waste and so gorgeous to see them out of the cupboard in all their glory) and commissioned Mummy with the task of finding as many linen napkins as she could… she was delighted to find she has thirty and told just about everyone at the party! (again… zero waste).

Mr Gorgeous was in charge of drinks and he went online to Tesco (other supermarket chains are available) and managed a home delivery without a #plasticfree hiccup. Apparently the website states whether the corks are CORK or plastic, he ticked to have no ‘substitutions’ to make sure his careful research did not go to waste and also ticked the ‘no plastic bags’ option. The delive

ry arrived, not a single piece of plastic in it. (Obviously home deliveries from supermarkets have moved on in the past six months … the ‘Blue Planet’ effect). Hoorah.

Once you’ve made the move to trying your darn nest to avoid plastic corks, I didn’t want to put them in the bin and have been hanging onto all my corks not entirely sure what to do with them. It turns out you can COMPOST them which sounds quite exciting to a newbie composter… but even better… they can be REUSED!!! All you have to do is pop them in the post to Recorked UK (recorkeduk.org) and they could end up as flooring or even a pair of BIRKENSTOCKS!!!!!

With a teeny tiny bit of pre planning I avoided plastic bags of ice simply by doing a tray of ice every day and de-canting them into a re-useable plastic box. On the day of the party I half filled the ice bucket with cold water, filled it with bottles of prosecco and threw in the stockpiled ice-cubes. Woo Hoo.

I’d decided on picnic themed nibbles and Brindon Addy, the local butcher, excelled with their pies, cooked meat and scotch eggs… collected by me on the morning of the party, all in a cardboard box covered with waxed paper. I made my first ever Yorkshire Puddings and popped everything in straw picnic baskets and … Tah Daaaaaah… picnic food nibbles sorted!

Cake baking has been a bit of a challenge as all my favorite recipes use buttermilk or sour cream, which I’ve not yet found in a non-plastic alternative. After unexpectedly finding STRAWBERRIES in a cardboard punnet (berries seem to be universally in plastic punnets, even in lovely farm shops and greengrocers) and after a little googling for a fold-in method recipe I made a rose scented, tiered, naked cake with frosted strawberries… a totally amazingly brilliant #plasticfree success!!

The party was a total delight and my wonderful friends arrived with gifts, fizz and flowers almost entirely #plasticfree! Flowers arrived naked with a ribbon, or with a pretty sheath of tissue paper, gifts wrapped in paper or (reusable) gift bags and some very lovely #plasticfree touches using twine!

The complete pre and post party bin usage was less than a quarter of a kitchen swing bin, the usual bottle bank visit and some cardboard waste. None of the usual black bin liners full of rubbish and having an overstuffed bin until bin day (which didn’t come in Kirklees as there was a bin strike).

Which brings us back to the dinner party.. and the piece de resistance for my dinner party small talk, I turn to the dinner party guests and say…

“And it’s a Slim Jim bin”.

[for the uninitiated a Slim Jim is the 140L instead of the usual 240L bin].

I know. Worrying. I need to get out more.

Or…if it’s your dinner party… maybe not.

 

 

 

 

On 8 January 2018 I did a #plasticfreeweek, which started my #threethings #plasticfree… I don’t buy food or drink in plastic / I’m addressing plastic use in the bathroom / I’m trying to roll it out throughout my life