How to have a waste-free jubilee

People sitting outside on red tables at a garden party and smiling. A man is pouring a cup of tea.

How to have a waste-free Jubilee party

Let’s have a waste-free jubilee! In honour of the Queen’s platinum jubilee, streets across the country are throwing parties. Similar celebrations happened 70 years ago when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, with one big difference: waste.

Back in 1952, throw-away cups and plates were barely used. Instead, neighbours brought out their own dishes, cutlery and serving trays for the Coronation street parties. Paper or fabric bunting adorned houses and tables and leftover food (if there was any) was taken home.

Plastic existed, but it hadn’t yet exploded into the widespread use we have today. If something could be used more than once it was made to last. The good news is we still have access to all of these reusable things!

It’s much better for the environment and your wallet to use things you already own, so we’ve pulled together some quick and easy ideas for a waste-free jubilee celebration.

Bring your own plate!

If you’re hosting a BYOB street party, why not making it bring-your-own-cup-and-plate, too? Plastic plates and cups decorated with crowns or flags might seem tempting in the shop, but even the prettiest of paper or plastic plates will end up in the bin the next day. The government estimates that 1.1 billion single use plates and 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery are used in England every year, with just 10% recycled.

Make your own decorations or buy reusable ones

Making your own decorations can be part of the fun! Challenge your neighbours to decorate their windows with eco friendly materials such as paper or fabric. Invite local children to draw jubilee celebration posters. Or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, try turning own clothes or bedsheets into a string of bunting for your street.

Keep food fresh in containers instead of using clingfilm

Tupperware, take-away boxes, or wax wraps are all sustainable alternatives to using clingfilm or tinfoil to protect your jubilee treats. Storing food in an airtight container will help keep it fresher for longer so you can enjoy leftovers the next day.

Put unavoidable food waste in the brown caddy

Make sure unavoidable food waste is put in the brown food waste caddy. In Bristol, the food waste bin is collected every week along with the rest of your recycling. As well as being better for the environment to recycle your food waste, it’s also more hygienic than putting it in the general waste that only gets collected every 2 weeks.

Compostable doesn’t mean recyclable

Compostable products should be composted at home or put in your general waste. You can’t put them in with food waste because they need light and oxygen to break down. Bristol’s food waste goes into an anaerobic digester which uses heat, instead of light and oxygen, to break down food waste quickly.

Compostable products can’t be put in with the plastic or cardboard recycling because they cannot be made into new plastic or cardboard products. Compostable material that accidentally ends up in the recycling is contamination and can make it much harder, or impossible, for the rest of the bale to be recycled.

Some compostable products can be composted at home. Check the small print on the packaging or contact the manufacturer if you’re not sure.

Visit the platinum jubilee website for a party toolkit that includes activities, bunting templates and playlists.

You can also find more eco-friendly party ideas on our blog post about waste-free kids parties.


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