Simple Zero Waste Party Swap: Reusable Cups
Making a swap from disposable cups to reusable party cups is super easy and helps make your party more zero waste. It's a one-time setup for permanent results.
Single-use plastic is having a big impact on our environment, party due to the use of non-renewable resources and the fact that much of it still ends up in landfill. Plastic disposable cups can be recycled easily in Australia, but likely downgraded to a lower class plastic that is less valuable and usable.
Paper cups really aren't that much better, similar to disposable coffee cups which are notoriously difficult to recycle anywhere...and don't even get me started on polystyrene!!!
If you observe people at parties, you might notice they use multiple disposable cups over a few hours.
Either a drink is misplaced, the cup splits, or it's thrown away and a new cup is sought for the next drink. They are ultra convenient, and given that it is still fairly common to use single-use party cups, it could be easy to forget they have an impact when you're enjoying a party.
Doing it the hard way is what I used to do....as we already had disposable cups, purchased long ago, I felt really guilty to just put them in the recycle bin. So, my approach was to use, wash and reuse. Which you can do a surprisingly high number of times with good quality disposable - to my disappointment.
I really really hated washing and drying these, along with trying to stop them being thrown in the bins (fishing them out of the bin is actually pretty gross, but I was committed regardless). Eventually, I decided enough was enough. I donated them to a community group and headed to the op-shop.
Here's a stack of around 30 cups we used at a recent party, bought at an op-shop for under $10!
I found heaps of suitable cups in the first op-shop I went to, and they are usually chock full of cups and glassware. I could have hunted around a little to find cute matching sets, but I'm not that fussy really.
I specifically chose dishwasher safe as I didn't want to be hand washing everything, but generally I only add maybe ten or twenty in the dishwasher and hand wash the rest. (Gotta get a full dishwasher load before it does a wash!).
These are going to last forever in our household and are suitable for kids and adults. Another bonus, is that people tend to hang on to them or even wash them during a party!
We have held a number of events at our place this year and have managed to make do for anywhere between 30-70 people without resorting to single-use cups.
Although, with larger numbers of guests, there is usually a proportion of coffee, beer & wine drinkers (yes, even at kids parties) and ideally, there would be enough mugs or glassware to go around. I do plan to seek out a few more wine glasses for future use.
I have heard of places that allow you to hire out reusable party ware and I love this concept. You pay a deposit, collect all your cups, plates, cutlery etcetera, and when finished, you wash and return (and pay for breakages or losses). This is a brilliant option for anyone who doesn't have storage space or for a once off event.
Before you rush out and hit the shops, check what you already have and maybe ask friends and family if they have extras they don't use. And make a few notes on what your requirements are.
If you do outdoor events at parks, or have limited cupboard space, then stackable cups are essential. Perhaps your parties are a bit more stylish and you want a specific colour or type. Just figure out what it is you want, and then please check your local op-shops before buying anything brand-new.
Making this swap was a one time action, and was a super easy to implement. So if you haven't yet done this, I really hope you give it a go. Feel free to share this with any of your party friends and maybe we can get a mini revolution happening downunder.