reusable silverware

Summer is approaching, and with it so many great reasons to gather and celebrate: graduations, Father’s Day barbecues, and block parties. You have the opportunity to make these events even better by reducing waste with a little pre-cycling and composting.

You may be asking: what is pre-cycling? We first came across this term in a book entitled 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. It recommends buying items only if you can recycle or compost the packaging. This same concept can be applied– with great effect–to party planning. With a little thought beforehand, you can compost or recycle pretty much everything from a party. We call this a Zero Waste Event. Some sticklers say that it isn’t possible to have a Zero Waste Event, but if zero waste is your goal, you can come pretty close. Our founder Erlene Howard’s definition of a Zero Waste Event is one in which “nothing goes to the landfill that does not absolutely have to.”

Zero Waste Events have at least three benefits. The obvious benefit is the diversion of food scraps and compostable products from the event proper. The not-so-obvious benefit is that it is an educational opportunity to demonstrate how to dramatically reduce waste by making some different choices. A lot of us live in an environmentalism bubble, but some people have neither been to a Zero Waste Event nor heard of commercial composting. Zero Waste Events also provide an opportunity to talk about how diverting your food scraps through composting is something we can all do to combat climate change.

A lot of you are already Collective Resource, Inc. customers. You have an advantage because we are already swapping out buckets or totes of compostable items for you. If you need extras, just let us know and we can get them to you. Additional buckets are just $5.50 each.

Different choices: Reusables, Compostables,

Consider whether you could use reusables. Can you borrow from other guests to have enough? Can you rent what you need?

If you absolutely need to use disposables, make them all compostable and use real silverware.

Do not assume that you are going to need forks, knives, and spoons for everyone. It really depends on the menu. Think that through before you purchase.

If you do need to purchase party supplies, don’t open all of the packages. Open them only as you need them so you can return what you don’t use.

There are additional resources on our website under the Services: Zero Waste Events tab.

Buy all of your beverages in cans. Aluminum cans are happily accepted in most, if not all, recycling programs.

If guests are disposing of the waste themselves, set up a waste station that makes it very clear where everything goes. Make signs even if you think that it is obvious. It might not be obvious to your guests. For the real silverware, take a Pyrex dish and put a fork in it.

CRI in the News

Did you see this article about us in the Chicago Tribune and Evanston Review? Pioneer Press reporter Genevieve Bookwalter wrote an Earth Day article about how a woman-owned company (That’s us!) helps the City of Evanston run the biggest municipal compost program in the state of Illinois.

Author Details
Customer Service | Collective Resource, Inc

Taking care of a sick loved one with many digestive problems spurred Phoenix into the world of terms like Organic, Pasture Raised, and Locally Grown. She dove in headlong, leaving her career in graphic design and first volunteering with the Peterson Garden Project, then doing an internship at Metropolitan Farms, and finally meeting Erlene (Owner of Collective Resource Compost) at a networking event. Phoenix sat down next to Erlene and saw a stack of orange buckets next to her. They started chatting about composting and she got the guts up to ask Erlene if her company was hiring. That was in June 2018. She has washed buckets, run routes, and now she is behind the computer sharing her knowledge and using her talent for logistics and customer service. Phoenix encourages everyone to embrace an imperfect but continuing effort to make a difference right now for our environment.