No-Waste Party

How to Throw a No-Waste Party

By Erin Huffstetler | 03/08/2018 | 5 Comments
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This past Saturday we threw a big backyard party, and we didn’t even have to set out a trash can. Yep, that’s right, our party generated no trash – not a single piece. Want to throw your own no-waste party? Here’s a look at my set up.

Instead of buying a bunch of disposable cups, I just pull a few cases of Ball canning jars off the shelf. If I’m having a big party, I just pull a few more. This allows me to have matching glasses, no matter how big our parties get.

White Restaurant Dishes

I pieced together a set of white dishes at thrift stores, and use them at every party. They’re loads sturdier than any disposable plates that I could buy, and they look a lot classier, too. After a party, we just throw them in the dishwasher, and store them away until our next party.


To get around buying plastic utensils, I started picking up odds and ends silverware from thrift stores and yard sales. I now have a large set that I can pull out for parties. This beats using our everyday silverware for this purpose because I don’t have to worry that a piece will accidentally get thrown away.

Cloth Napkins

I have a large collection of white napkins that I bought second-hand. I pull them out whenever we’re having a party. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I bought paper napkins – it’s been years.

Glass Drink Jug

I paid $20 for this beverage jug at a yard sale a few years back, and it’s been worth every cent. It holds five gallons, so I can fill it once before the party, and be done with it. This one usually gets filled with lemonade. I have a couple more that I fill with iced tea and water. Making up bulk batches of drinks saves me a ton, and eliminates all of the waste that you’d normally have from serving soda or other store-bought drinks.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

These ice cream cone cupcakes have become my go-to for parties. There are no cupcake wrappers to throw away, and no dishes to wash. Kids go nuts when they see them.

Ice Cream Cone Cupcake with a Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream

You can even serve them with a scoop of ice cream on top, if you like to do cake and ice cream.

Dirty Dishes

To make clean up a snap, we just stick a couple containers out for guests to deposit their dishes in when they’re done. Recognize this container? It’s one of the trugs that we rescued from a curb pile a couple weekends ago!

Solar Canning Jar Lanterns

Since our parties usually continue long after dark, I place one of these solar canning jar lanterns on each table. By the time the sun sets, they’re fully charged and ready to light up the night. Get instructions for my solar jars here.

Trying to cut down on your trash? Check out my no-waste lunchbox set up for more ideas.

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  1. This is so cool! Do you ever have guests give you a hard time about using cloth napkins? We use them for our everyday eating, and I have one friend who always asks for paper napkins. I believe she thinks using cloth ones is gross for some reason.

    • I usually have a few people that are worried they’ll stain our cloth napkins. Once I assure them that they’re there to use — and abuse — they’re good with it 🙂

  2. What is the biggest party you’ve done this with? I’m considering making this a winter project to be ready for spring farm day. Do you have any hesitations for a group that size? I can make the napkins. Thanks for your wisdom! The Farmers Wife

    • Hi Val,

      My biggest no-waste party to date had around 40 guests. I have enough plates and napkins to accommodate around 100 people. I’m still building my silverware collection. I think it would be a lot of fun to do for spring farm day. You’ll have more dishes and laundry to deal with, but less cost and trash. I say go for it!

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