Sep 04

[ARCHIVED] 06/01/18 - Plastic Party

The original item was published from September 4, 2020 4:55 PM to February 9, 2021 9:28 AM

Pink plastic cutlery laying on astroturfTrash This Plastic

Don't place the following items in recycling bins at events or in your recycling carts at home; just place them into the trash:

  • Balloons
  • Caps from drinks
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic forks, knives, and spoons
  • Plastic tablecloths
  • Streamers

Okay, that is a great deal of information to sink into your mind! These items are found everywhere. And if you are like most people, you've always thought that these can be recycled. If you read the article before this one, you'll know all about MRFs. (If you haven't, check out the "Where Does Recycled Material Go?" article. Basically, these items can become problems for the facility that recycles

  • Cardboard
  • Cartons
  • Metal cans
  • Paper
  • Plastic bottles

But let's look at the other side of the coin, a regular person planning a party. Things like one-time use forks do make it easier for someone who has a party with 125 people attending. Who has time to wash regular forks after an event? And not to mention, you certainly don't want to use your everyday utensils (even if you had enough of them!).

What You Can Do

So what can you do? Reduce the use of plastic items.


Metal cans are always recyclable. Rather than use single use cups that need to be thrown out - maybe purchase cans of beverages. Have a water refilling station and water bottles. Plastic water bottles are easily recyclable and if your guests can refill them - that can cut down on the number of bottles used. An added bonus is if you let your guests know that you'll provide them with ways to refill their water bottles, they might bring their own water bottle!


First think of finger foods. Can you provide a snack or meal that doesn't rely on needing utensils? If you do have plastic utensils - maybe provide a bin to collect them. They can be washed and reused. If you aren't able to reuse them, then make sure these items go into your trash receptacle.

Plastic Tablecloths

Look into reusable vinyl ones. Ask yourself do you need a table cloth? What about going to a thrift store and picking up an old bed sheet? If you are having a party, many of you might want a color theme for your tablecloth. However, have you thought of perhaps getting permanent markers in "your color" and having your guests draw/write onto the thrift store table cover?

Streamers & Balloons

if you feel you must use these items, please be responsible and throw them away after use. Balloons should not be released into the environment, they can harm wildlife.


Lastly, caps. They are too small to be collected at recycling facilities. If you do have beverages with caps - please have your guests throw them out- do not place them into the recycling receptacles.

Share This Message

Share this message with as many people as you know. Remember it's not just recycle, but "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!"