Recycling Tips for your Holiday and Graduation Parties- Here are a few tips to make sure your party doesn’t generate a ton of trash

Written by Donna Stuckert. Posted in Community News & People in the News, Featured

Published on May 22, 2019 with No Comments

It’s graduation season, and with the warm weather upon us, there will be lots of other excuses to host gatherings.

Parties are notorious for creating a lot of waste; however, here are a few tips to make sure your party doesn’t generate a ton of trash.

1. Invitations.

First of all, send your party invitations via e-mail or social media. Paper invitations ultimately end up in the recycle or trash bin, so why spend the money to create them? You’ll save money on postage as well.

2. Buy only what you need. 

Sometimes it’s hard to judge how much food or party utensils you’ll need. Reducing the amount you purchase or consume obviously saves money and waste. In addition, realize that reducing the amount you purchase adds to the reduction in the demand for the product. If we all reduce the amount we purchase, manufacturers will make less and reduce their impact on our natural resources.

3. Borrow, rent or buy used.

Instead of buying tables, chairs and other party necessities, see if you can borrow them from someone or rent them from a local party supplier.  If you have to purchase items, check your local thrift stores first. Once again, purchasing new items increases demand for manufacturers to make more, thereby impacting our natural resources.

4.  Reusable vs. disposable.

The smaller your party is, the easier it is to reduce waste. Can you provide reusable napkins, plates and utensils? Reusable items are always preferable. If you are throwing a larger party, however, it might not be convenient to use cloth napkins, dishware and silverware.

Paper plates and napkins are not recyclable due to food residue and grease. Paper cups are not recyclable because they are covered with either wax or plastic that makes them waterproof. Many plastic cups, like the Solo brand or foam cups used to hold hot liquids, are not recyclable curbside either.  Solo cups are #6 plastic, or polystyrene, which is, in essence, Styrofoam. Styrofoam is a brand name created by Dow Chemical that many people use to refer to polystyrene.

Plasticware is also normally made out of polystyrene and not recyclable.

There is no market in the area for the polystyrene we consume in Northwest Indiana. No market simply means that there is no company that is willing to buy it and recycle it into another product that it can sell for a profit.  Therefore, polystyrene must be thrown in the trash, and it takes hundreds of years for the material to break down in landfills. It’s best to reduce your use and not buy it in the first place.

5. Offer recycling.

If you’re offering beverages, it may be best to offer them in their own recyclable packaging, like cans and bottles, and provide a recycling container to collect the materials. If you don’t have a recycle bin, a big clearly marked box will work.

The Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County loans out event recycling containers for Porter County residents to collect recyclables at parties, festivals and gatherings of all sizes. No event is too small, so feel free to call and reserve containers for your next event.  For more information call 219-465-3695 or, visit www.ItMeansTheWorld.org.

Donna Stuckert is the community education coordinator for the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County. For more information or to reach Stuckert, e-mail DStuckert@ItMeansTheWorld.org.

What can I recycle?

1. Cardboard

2. Paper

3. Food Boxes

4. Mail

5. Beverage Cans

6. Food Cans

7. Glass Bottles

8. Jars (glass & plastic)

9. Jugs

10. Plastic Bottles & Caps


Also recyclables, but not in curbside bin:

1. Plastic bags & wraps

2. Electronics

3. Textiles.

To find out about your local recycling options visit, www.itmeanstheworld.org

Free service encourages recycling at holiday gatherings

Graduation parties can generate a lot of garbage. Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction can help event planners better manage their waste by providing recycling containers to collect aluminum cans and plastic and glass bottles.

The free service is available to use for any special event in Porter County; no event is too small! The event recycling containers are appropriate for softball tournaments, block parties, barbecues, family reunions, 5K races, and any gatherings that could potentially generate large amounts of trash. Public events using the containers will also get a publicity boost with an announcement on the district’s Facebook Page.

“When presented with the option to recycle their waste, most guests choose to do the right thing,” said Therese Haller, district executive director. “Organizations and individuals without a supply of recycling containers or the money to purchase them need only borrow ours.”

The staff at the solid waste district recommends the collection containers be placed next to garbage cans in high traffic areas at events. The district even supplies the clear plastic bags that fit into the collection containers.

To borrow the containers, call the district, 219-465-3695, at least one week prior to the event to confirm the availability. Once reserved, renters can download a reservation agreement from the district’s website, www.PorterCountyRecycling.org, sign the form and return it to the district. More information on the program is available on the district’s website, www.PorterCountyRecycling.org.

Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle.


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About Donna Stuckert


All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Donna Stuckert is the Community Education Coordinator for the Recycling & Waste Reduction District of Porter County. She is a communications professional with more than 20 years of experience who enjoys working for the greater good and inspiring others on making a difference. For more information or to reach Stuckert, e-mail DStuckert@ItMeansTheWorld.org.

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