Planning ahead for zero waste success: Abby’s grad party edition

One thing I’ve discovered this year — again and again and again (apparently I’m a slow learner) — is that, in order to be zero/minimal waste, you have to REALLY plan ahead.

It’s occurred to me that this would be a really good time to start my annual round of spring cleaning / decluttering, as Abby graduates from high school in a month and a half (insert hysterical sobbing here) and we’ll need a nice clean house anyway when we host her grad party. It’s also occurred to me that I need to start planning what we’ll serve and how we’ll serve it in order to make it as zero waste as possible. (Hey, relatives, I’ll probably be asking to borrow plates, cups and cloth napkins.)

Source. With luck, our grad party will look something like this. 😉

I’m envisioning various appetizers outside on the deck, and lawn chairs set up for people to gather and chat. Abby has asked for yard games — she went to several grad parties last year and reported the most successful ones had “stuff to do.” I imagine we can scrounge that up from various friends, too; everyone has to have at least one game in their garage, right?

Then: A couple of tubs set side by side for dirty dishes (thanks for the idea, literally every coffee shop in town!) and a smaller bin for cloth napkins.

The plan gets slightly more complicated if Eric decides he’d rather barbecue or the weather is bad (this is Oregon. October is generally better than June), but I think it would still work.

What I have not figured out yet is drinks. I don’t want to have a cooler of plastic bottles holding various liquids … but what other choices are there? Pitchers of lemonade and water? I guess technically colas are in tin cans (and we now get a 10-cents deposit, up from 5-cents), but I don’t necessarily want to support companies that A) are dependent on corn and soy and 2) gave craploads of money to defeat a recent ballot measure that should have passed and because it didn’t, Oregon is now out of money for even the most basic services.

Ahem. Not that I’m bitter. My not buying pop isn’t going to make any difference to those companies and their bottom lines, I know that, but I will make me feel better. 😉 And it’s possible I’ll get overruled anyway by Abs. This is her party, after all.

(Now, bottles of craft beer? I’m cool with that.)

Ideas? Thoughts and feelings? Totally gonna take advantage of the hive mind here while I still can.

In other college-related news, Abby has a list of various items she’d like to get for her dorm room, ranging from a drying rack to shower caddy, and is more than willing to get those things used. I tell you what, that makes my heart so happy. When I was her age — heck, even when I was Johanna’s — I had a total block when it came to getting things used. I literally wouldn’t touch them. Now, of course, who cares, and I’m not sure if that’s the attitude that rubbed off on the girls, or if they’re just generally made of tougher stuff than I am.

So far, all we’ve been able to find is a used power strip — $2.99, that thing is solid — but I figure by starting this early, surely we’ll have more time for success. If she has to get some things new, so be it; it’s just that it would be nice to not have to. Especially considering that secondhand shops are overflowing with so much stuff they have to dump some of it just to keep up.

Other recent secondhand finds: A 2-cup Pyrex dish with (plastic) lid and a scarf/leggings hanger. Both were $2.99 (I guess that was the price of the day) and I’m totally jacked. Abby keeps eyeing the hanger, though, so it would not surprise me if I don’t get to keep it after all. The things we do for our children … 😉 That glass dish is mine, though. It’s the perfect size for my lunchbox.

Next up: I have a treat for you! Tracy is writing a post for Wednesday, and then I’ll be back on Friday.

P.S. Happy birthday to my favorite mother-in-law, who’s touring Ireland and won’t even see this!