Use washable dishware rather than having disposable plates and utensils that will go to a landfill. If you’re wary of borrowing Grandma’s antique porcelain dinnerware, take a trip to a local thrift shop and put together your own eclectic mix of plates, bowls and glasses to fit your wedding style. After the festivities are done, you can either keep them for future parties or donate them back for others to find.
Ask your caterer and bartender not to use any single-use plastics like straws, single-serve creamers for coffee, bottled water or plastic cups. Avoid plastic-wrapped party favors, too. Instead, have them use reusable stirring sticks or straws, a water station so people can easily refill their glasses, refillable creamer dispensers and plastic-free utensils.
Ask your bartender or caterer about alternatives to disposable drinkware. For example, you could provide reusable glassware that your guests can label and then keep. If disposable plastic cups are unavoidable, leave out a couple permanent markers and a sign requesting guests to write their name on their cups so they can reuse them throughout the reception.
Check with your venue and make sure they have recycling receptacles. If they don’t, ask them if you can supply your own. Be sure to provide signs to help guests sort glass, aluminum, and paper according to local recycling guidelines.
Over a third of waste generated can be diverted from the landfill by recycling.
“I collected dishes from Goodwill [and other] second hand stores leading up to the day to cut down on trash. I bought a large silverware set from someone who had used it for their wedding. Then I gave it to our caterer to keep since she didn’t have one. We passed the set of plates on to another couple getting married, and I think they’ve been used for a few other weddings since.”