9 tips for Zero Waste entertaining this summer

treehugger.com

By Katherine Martinko

Summer is the season for outdoor entertaining. Unfortunately, this can result in excessive amounts of waste, as many hosts set out piles of Styrofoam plates, plastic cutlery, and plastic cups in order to reduce the amount of cleanup and broken glasses in the backyard. It might be convenient and easy to entertain in this way, but it’s unsustainable.

Consider the following zero-waste options when planning your next party. It does take more effort to use reusable items – you have to wash and store them till next time – but there won’t be a plastic garbage bag full of trash at the end of the night, which is a pretty great feeling. Reusable items add a touch of class and decoration to a party, making it more memorable for your guests. Here are some ideas:

1. Use a cloth tablecloth or placemats instead of a plastic table cover.

There’s something about a tablecloth that makes any dinner look stylish and beautiful. Wash, hang dry, and iron soon after use, and it will last for many years. For something even simpler, try colourful placements made of natural fibres.

Ten Thousand Villages sells gorgeous fair-trade tablecloths and placemats.

2. Reusable plates are a necessity.

Buy a second set of cheap ceramic plates at a thrift store that you won’t worry about breaking, or pick up a set of enamel tin picnic dishes. If you’re really stressed about having to wash all those dishes, check out VerTerra’s compostable plates made of pressed leaves and water.

If you have a large crowd to feed, consider renting plates from a local church or community center. Some places might even take the dishes back dirty, for a fee. You could set up an outdoor washing station where guests wash their own plate, which makes a huge difference in the amount of cleanup, or ask guests to bring their own reusable dishes.

3. Use cloth napkins, which add decorative accents to a table.

It does mean extra laundry, but these will last for years. Plus, they’re much more absorbent and generally useful than grabbing a handful of paper napkins to wipe up a mess. Buy them anywhere (it’s best to stick with 100% cotton, which is most durable), or repurpose old fabric to make your own. Etsy has some attractive handmade options.

4. Ditch the disposable straws and try some reusable ones.

Did you know that 500 million plastic straws are tossed daily in the U.S.? Here’s a much better option. Simply Straws makes these cool straws with borosilicate glass, which is tough and resistant to thermal stress, making them great for cold and hot beverages. They come in 3 sizes, and you have the option of bent or straight. The company guarantees 100% satisfaction and will replace broken ones.

5. Serve iced juice or water in a large communal dispenser.

Not only is it practical and elegant, but it also eliminates the need for a cooler full of dripping wet plastic water bottles or soda cans.

6. Serve drinks in small glass canning jars, which adds a rustic touch.

Write guests’ names on the side in permanent marker, or tie a ribbon around to differentiate. If you want to invest in something permanent, go with non-breakable stainless steel. You can get pint cups from Klean Kanteen, and stemmed wine glasses from Eco-Friendly Cookware.

7. Provide reusable cutlery.

Not only is it eco-friendly, it also much more pleasant to eat with sturdy cutlery; cutting food on a Styrofoam plate with a flimsy plastic knife is very frustrating. Visit the thrift store for an extra set, if you’re don’t want to use your own. Another option is to buy wooden or bamboo sets of cutlery, which are great for travelling and camping. Verterra also sells compostable wooden cutlery that supposedly breaks down in two months.

8. Buy alcoholic beverages from local wineries and brewers.

Some wineries offer wine-on-tap and let you fill your own bottles, which is an excellent zero waste option. Use old wine bottles or buy some of these pretty glass bottles with ceramic lids. If not, be sure to return empties for a refund and reuse.

9. Metal skewers are useful and versatile.

Use long ones for grilling vegetables and meat. You won’t have to soak them ahead of time or deal with splinters in your food. Use little metal skewers instead of toothpicks to serve finger foods; wash and reuse.

Do you have any ideas for zero-waste entertaining?

Reduce the environmental impact of your parties by opting for reusable items instead of single-use disposables.

https://www.treehugger.com/green-home/9-tips-zero-waste-entertaining-summer.html

Kids ask McDonalds to ditch plastic Happy Meal toys

treehugger.com

Katherine Martinko feistyredhair July 12, 2019

Their hugely successful petition has even gotten a response – and a promise – from the fast food giant.

The children aren’t happy with their Happy Meals. Concerned about the amount of plastic in the cheap hard toys handed out by McDonalds, and the short length of time that they’re typically played with by kids, two little girls from Southampton, England, have launched a petition, asking fast food restaurants to reconsider what they hand out. Caitlin and Ella, ages 7 and 9, wrote on their Change.org page:

“We like to go to eat at Burger King and McDonald’s, but children only play with the plastic toys they give us for a few minutes before they get thrown away and harm animals and pollute the sea. We want anything they give to us to be sustainable so we can protect the planet for us and for future generations… It’s not enough to make recyclable plastic toys – big, rich companies shouldn’t be making toys out of plastic at all.”

The petition coincided with the launch of BBC One’s series, ‘War on Plastic.’ The first episode, according to Environmental Leader, featured a trip to a recycling facility that revealed how impossible toys are to recycle and even showed brand new toys from McDonalds at the facility, still wrapped in plastic.

So far the petition has gathered an impressive 370,200 signatures (at time of publishing), and McDonalds has noticed. It issued a statement saying it agrees with the girls’ petition: “We are committed to reducing plastic across our business, including Happy Meal toys.”

This problem isn’t limited to McDonalds, or even to fast food restaurants. It’s a problem with our kid culture these days. Cheap plastic toys are given out to children everywhere – in party loot bags, birthday presents, prizes at fairs and school events, the treasure box after an appointment at the dentist or optometrist. These toys are low quality, break almost immediately, are impossible to repair, and must go to landfill.

Parents can try their best to talk to kids about the problems with plastic, but it would be great to have some additional support from businesses and event organizers that understand we don’t want more plastic gimmicks. Cutting it off at the source is always more effective than dealing with it once it’s already in a kid’s hands.

McDonalds says it will focus more on books, stuffed animals (also a form of plastic, but usually longer lasting), and board games. Environmental Leader reports that “that change alone will reduce the number of hard plastic toys given away by 60 percent compared to the first half of the year.”

Way to go, Caitlin and Ella! We need more kid activists like you. You can sign their petition here.

Their hugely successful petition has even gotten a response – and a promise – from the fast food giant.

https://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/kids-ask-mcdonalds-ditch-plastic-happy-meal-toys.html?utm_source=TreeHugger+Newsletters&utm_campaign=e31828afab-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_11_16_2018_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_32de41485d-e31828afab-243719061

GOVE explains why he is launching drive to stamp out big-game hunters

dailymail.com

By Michael Gove, Secretary Of State For Environment, Food And Rural Affairs For The Daily Mail 21:04 14 Jul 2019, updated 22:01 14 Jul 2019

During the passionate debates inspired by Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species, one churchman sceptical of evolution asked his contemporaries, ‘are we the relatives of apes or angels?’

We know now, of course, that we are indeed related genetically to our primate cousins. Indeed, more than that, we are connected by the process of evolution to all the other species with which we share this planet.

That knowledge should incline us to treat animals with thought and care. Not least because we know they are, like us, sentient beings who can experience fear and pain alongside contentment and comfort. If we abuse and mistreat animals we are diminishing our own humanity. To accord them the dignity they deserve is to be true to what Abraham Lincoln called ‘the better angels of our nature’.

One of the practices we must look to tackle is the phenomenon called trophy hunting – whereby tourists pay huge sums to kill some of our planet’s most iconic species and then bring home parts of the animal’s corpse to decorate their homes. Pictured: Michael Gove with Tusk Trust rhino art statues outside the Foreign Office

Improving the welfare of animals, both domestic pets and farm livestock, has been one of the missions of this Government. And we have also been determined to do all in our power to protect wildlife from exploitation and cruelty.

That is why we have taken steps to end puppy farming, ban wild animals in circuses, increase sentences for those who abuse animals, protect service animals, invested in higher standards of animal welfare in our farms, installed CCTV in abattoirs to eliminate cruel practices, and will restrict the live export of animals for slaughter when we leave the EU.

We have also introduced one of the toughest bans on ivory sales in the world. But there is still more to do. And one of the practices we must look to tackle is the phenomenon called trophy hunting – whereby tourists pay huge sums to kill some of our planet’s most iconic species and then bring home parts of the animal’s corpse to decorate their homes.

This practice raises profound ethical concerns for me. Trophy hunting involves pursuing another animal in conditions which cause it stress, fear and pain. Trophy hunters do not kill for food, to control pests or to protect other species. For them it is a form of entertainment.

This practice raises profound ethical concerns for me. Trophy hunting involves pursuing another animal in conditions which cause it stress, fear and pain. Trophy hunters do not kill for food, to control pests or to protect other species. For them it is a form of entertainment. Pictured: Outrage – Hunter Larysa Switlyk (far right) posted this picture after shooting an alligator

And what often makes this practice worse is when these hunters glory in the animal’s death with pictures of its slaughtered body by their side on social media. But we must ensure we proceed on the basis of evidence and respect for others. There are thoughtful voices and concerned organisations who do make the case for some measure of ‘conservation hunting’ as a way of bringing income into countries with rich wildlife populations but poor economies.

They argue that commercial hunting provides a strong incentive for those nations to manage and safeguard their wildlife populations. It is said that without income from hunting, the countries would be under pressure to replace wildlife-rich habitats with farmland or other economically productive land uses – which would mean the precious species were without a home. And many say the money raised can be used to safeguard other valuable natural resources from exploitation.

I appreciate the sincerity with which those arguments are made. And I recognise that there must always be, from time to time, the culling of some species to keep nature in balance and the control of predators to protect other species.

And what often makes this practice worse is when these hunters glory in the animal’s death with pictures of its slaughtered body by their side on social media. But we must ensure we proceed on the basis of evidence and respect for others. Pictured: Gove (right) and Zac Goldsmith with Tusk Trust rhino art statues outside the Foreign Office

But I find it hard to see how those justifications can be used to defend those who ‘hunt’ animals which have been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of dying for others’ entertainment. We need to act to stop this sort of exploitation, and because we need to establish just how defensible the arguments for ‘conservation hunting’ are, I plan to issue a call for evidence on trophy hunting overall.

I want to know whether countries with rich wildlife populations couldn’t make just as much, if not more, income from wildlife tourism than from hunting. I want to establish what we can learn from other nations, such as Australia and the Netherlands, which have much tighter restrictions on importing these ‘trophies’.

I hope that as we gather the evidence, we also gather the momentum for action.

And we ensure that this Parliament is remembered for what we did for nature.

Michael Gove aims to crackdown on big-game hunters by banning them from bringing trophies from their kills back to the UK

by Claire Ellicott and Jack Doyle

Michael Gove will take the first steps towards banning imports from trophy hunting, he tells the Mail today.

The Environment Secretary will issue a call for evidence to decide whether to outlaw hunters bringing the souvenirs into the country.

He will also consult on what the UK can do to end its role in the rearing of animals in fenced reserves where they are shot by trophy hunters.

Trophy hunting is the shooting of certain animals – usually big game such as rhinos, elephants, lions, pumas and bears – for pleasure.

The trophy is any part of the animal – its head, skin or any other body part – that the hunter keeps as a souvenir.

Mr Gove said there was an important debate about whether trophy hunting in poorer countries could be used to enhance their economies.

But he added that it was important to explore whether these countries would not benefit more from wildlife tourism.

He also criticised the practice of ‘lion canning’ which involves thousands of lions in South Africa being bred and kept in fenced areas to be shot by wealthy travellers.

He said: ‘I find it hard to see how those justifications can be used to defend those who ‘hunt’ animals, who have been bred in captivity for the specific purpose of dying for others’ entertainment.’

Trophy hunting is rife in certain parts of the world, with 1.7 million trophies legally traded between 2004 and 2014. About 200,000 were from threatened species.

Of those, 2,500 were brought home by British hunters, including hundreds of heads, feet, tails, hides, tusks and horns from some of the most endangered species, including rhinos and elephants.

Lions were hit with the biggest increase in trophy hunting among the big five – despite their numbers decreasing by 43 per cent between 1993 and 2014.

Quite often, hunters cause outrage by showing off their prizes in pictures on social media.

And not all have to travel to far-flung plains to satisfy their blood lust.

Last year, a self-styled ‘Hardcore Huntress’ proudly posted pictures of herself beside the carcasses of sheep and goats she had shot on a trip to Scotland.

American television host Larysa Switlyk had been on a two-week hunting trip to Islay, a remote Scottish island, when she tweeted the images.

The 33-year-old labelled one picture of a dead goat ‘such fun’, prompting a furious online backlash.

Mr Gove has already banned ivory to prevent its trade in the UK and protect threatened species.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7246745/amp/MICHAEL-GOVE-explains-launching-drive-stamp-big-game-hunters.html?__twitter_impression=true