Ask Eartha: Serve a sustainable spiked soy-nog |

Ask Eartha: Serve a sustainable spiked soy-nog

by Earth Steward
HC3's Party Pack

‘Tis almost the season for snow, mistletoe and holiday hobnobbing. While there’s nothing better than a rousing holiday party, it comes at a price event more painful than a spiked soy-nog hangover – a sea of trash.

While mentioning the holidays before Thanksgiving is a crime against nature, so is a pile of waste. Every year, trash rates go up 25 percent during the holidays. One of the most important ways to bring a sense of sustainability to your entertaining is to plan ahead of time. Hence, a few eco and chic tips for entertaining during the holiday’s in a waste-free way.

Rather than offering your guests disposable cutlery and plates, serve folks on real, reusable dishware. This will save you money and will save resources. Even better, consider finger foods that don’t require utensils. You can also help reduce waste before it starts at your holiday bash by avoiding single-serving condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, sugar etc) – and instead opt for bulk containers.

If you can’t avoid using disposables, consider using products packaged in recyclable materials. For example, aluminum cans, aluminum foil, #1 and #2 plastic bottles and container glass, all can be recycled locally.

Certain disposable plastic and paper products cannot be recycled locally, including paper plates, napkins, petroleum based cutlery and coffee cups, which is why HC3 created Zero Waste Party Packs. These nifty packs are designed for small and medium-sized events, include compostable products such as forks, knives, corn-based cups, sugar cane plates plates, and educational signage to let your guests know you’re event is waste-free.

Since there’s more to life than being a holiday trash statistic, opt for using HC3’s Zero Waste Party Pack to make your event legitimately waste-free. Event planners can custom order a Party Pack, pick it up at HC3’s office, host the event, and deliver the compostable materials back to HC3. The compostable materials will be sent to the High Country Compost Facility and the green-thumbed host can sleep easy knowing he or she’s creating a pile of nutrient-rich compost instead of a mountain of trash.

While you can compost all your leftover food scraps with the Zero Waste Party Pack program, it’s always better to donate extra bulk food supplies to local food banks. Visit for a full list of Summit County food banks and food pantries.

If you need more information about throwing a waste-free event, the High Country Conservation Center is hosting a Zero Waste-Ware Party on Tuesday, Nov. 16 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at HC3’s office at 518 Main Street in Frisco. Swing by the Zero Waste-Ware Party and get the inside scoop on what you need to know and where you need to go to make your next party or event zero waste.

Another great way to cut down on waste is green your gift giving by banning the exchange of spankin’ new gifts. The High Country Conservation Center is celebrating the gift-giving season early by organizing an interoffice clothing swap as our way of celebrating America Recycles Day, next Monday, Nov. 15. Get creative by organizing a reused white elephant gift exchange or a clothing swap of your own. Ask your friends, co-workers or family to only give gently used, re-gifted or homemade treasures.

This holiday season, give gifts without giving stuff, plan a waste-free event and serve those spiked-soy nogs without serving a pile of trash.

Eartha Steward is written by Jennifer Santry and Erin Makowsky, consultants on all things eco and chic at the High Country Conservation Center, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation in our mountain community. Submit questions to Eartha at or to High Country Conservation Center, PO Box 4506, Frisco, CO 80443.

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