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If you’ve ever been to a dinner party, you’ve probably come across a table set with: utensils, napkins, flowers, maybe place holders, all of which include multiple material options. So many options might feel overwhelming but we can help you narrow it down. Not only do these material choices matter in terms of presentation, but also can have a large impact on the environment in bigger picture.

Back in April during Earth Month, Design w Care had the opportunity to share a zero-waste meal with new friends. The event was hosted by Corinna & Theresa of Celsious, Gabe Kennedy of Plant People and Laura Baross of Design W Care.

Throughout the evening we shared insightful tips related to: table décor, snack prep and tidying up that might come in handy throughout the Plastic Free July Challenge as well as the festivities during the 4th. Of course, all tips involved minimal impact on the environment.

The following are a few tips and tricks Laura had to offer:


Talk to your local flower shop about using the scraps or off-cuts from the end of the day. This gives the usually-discarded flower a chance to show off its beautiful color before going to waste. If you are based in Brooklyn NY, make sure to stop in to Sprout Home for gorgeous arrangement options. Once the flowers have served their purpose, please compost them.


Candles add a certain cozy and intimate mood to a dinner party. Once I learned most candles are made of paraffin wax, a product of crude oil contributing to air pollution, my mood had changed. Luckily, brands like Good Light Candles burn bright without damaging the air quality; they’re paraffin-free.


The napkins could be a linen or conventional paper. Coyuchi makes linen napkins and table liners, a perfect waste-free option to single-use paper napkins.


Silverware can always be washed and reused, but before you go purchasing new utensils, take a look around a local vintage shop or asked your friends to bring their own.


Lastly, sometimes you might want to add a little personality to the table with a décor item or two. If you’re lost on where to look for something/aren’t happy with what you have at home, look to circular businesses like Lost and Found and Feather. Renting or borrowing are fantastic ways to save on money and clutter.

Ever been guilty of placing a produce item back down where you found it because it didn’t look ‘normal?’ I’ve made a pact with myself to only pick up the irregular-looking fruits and vegetables. Grocery stores and restaurants will discard of a perfectly good piece of produce because it looks different. We chose to stop bullying broccoli and brussel sprouts by picking them first!

Gotham Greens’ Ugly Greens, grown from their greenhouse in New York, make for a delicious summer salad. Precycle, the first New York bulk produce store, will have plenty ‘irregular-looking’ vegetables for you to add on top your delicious greens. They offer ingredients such as olives, bread and vinegar in bulk.

Another Brooklyn gem, The Wally Shop, will deliver packaged-free foods to your door. A convenient and Earth-friendly alternative to grocery shopping. With so many delicious options, I’m confident you’ll go home with more than one treat. Try displaying your selected dessert on a wooden butcher’s block, it’s an elegant way to get guests excited to share (or not).

Let's all celebrate the independence day truly independent from plastic waste. Break out your linen napkins, reusable cups, paraffin free candles or bruised vegetables and have yourself a waste-free picnic/dinner party

Enjoy your waste free 4th of July. Cheers and bon appetit!

The lovely evening was made possible with the help of our sponsors: Based In, Coyuchi, Lost and Found, Good Light Candles, Gotham Greens, Precycle, AquaViTea, Feather and Sprout BK.


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