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Zero Waste Entertaining


As we enter a long and potentially hectic Holiday season, it can be easy to get carried away with convenience foods, excessive decorations, and elaborate gifts. Approaching this time of year from a zero-waste perspective can have a huge impact on your personal footprint (and your budget!)

Most of us love festive holiday decor, but plastic glitter and confetti aren’t typically biodegradable, and crepe-paper decor doesn’t last. Visit the thrift store and pick up a set of cloth napkins and a sturdy linen tablecloth and create a festive banner out of upcycled and scrap fabrics that can be used throughout the season.

Create a festive tablescape with found objects like fallen leaves, acorns, pinecones, or colourful produce like gourds and kale. You can even use leaves and a hole punch to make your own confetti! Borrow a catering kit for those extra place settings, and avoid using disposable cutlery, stemware, and dishes.


When it comes to prepping food, skip the saran wrap. Opt for airtight reusable containers for raw meats and saucy foods, and stick to a reusable beeswax wrap to cover odd-size dishes, wrap cheese and cut veggies, and to store loaves of bread.

Borrow one of our crock pots for preparing and serving hot foods, or sign out our roasting pan and skip the single-use foil. Take home a blender for the week and get a jump-start on those soups and sauces.

Rather than visit a crowded grocery store on the weekend, take advantage of the final Two Rivers Market of the season. Pick up fresh produce from a local farm,or a hosts’ gift from one of the many handmade vendors. For your bulk and grocery essentials, opt for package free, BYOC (bring your own container) options where possible. Most bulk food stores will allow you to bring your own jar if you get a tare weight first.


Lastly, while it can be tempting to over prepare, keep in mind that food waste is one of the largest contributors to waste in North America. Skip some of the extras, and try to make only what you and your guests can consume. Encourage your guests to bring a reusable container for leftovers, and try to prevent food waste wherever possible.


The Guelph Tool Library will be staying open until 6pm on Friday, October 5th to give everyone a bit of extra time to pick up their entertaining essentials. We will be closed Monday, October 8th for the holiday!

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