Earth-Friendly Outdoor Eating & Entertaining Guide
Party, Play, Pledge
With summer comes parties, picnics, beach outings, camping, and other outdoor gatherings where plastic pollution and unnecessary waste piles up in the name of convenience. This guide is about to change all that — reusables and sustainable supplies abound, which means we don’t have to trade off eco-consciousness for convenience. 🤔
In other words, you can party and play while pledging to do better for the planet. Let’s get started with these tips and hacks.
Tip 1: Invest in reusable serving ware.
We get it — cleaning dishes after an outdoor gathering is extra work, but if you’re up for the trade-off, then dishwasher-safe, lightweight, durable reusables are the way to go. We’ve got that covered, along with some additional earth-friendly options.
Our leak-free silicone bowls offer convenience and versatility, allowing you to prep, cook, reheat, transport, and serve all from one bowl. When feeding a group, reach for the 6-Cup and 8-Cup bowls for any type of salad, side, or main dish — even beverages (spiked or not), thanks to the multi-tasking seal that keeps liquids in when closed and makes pouring easy when open.
Image credit: @sustainablyamber
When the party’s over, Stasher bowls are easy to hand-wash or pop in the dishwasher. If you’re not near a kitchen, the 8-Cup bowl makes a great outdoor cleaning station.
Our flat and stand-up bags are way more functional than disposable plastic alternatives, plus you don’t have to keep buying (and trashing) more and more and more once the party’s over. Think: prepped veggies for dipping or grilling, packing sandwiches and appetizers, transporting charcuterie goodies before laying them out on an Insta-worthy board. You get the picture (haha).
Lightweight Serving Plates, Cups, & Utensils
Regardless of whether it’s a backyard or destination event, serving and eating necessities should be lightweight yet sturdy, shatter-proof, and preferably dishwasher safe for easy clean-up. Options like Bobo & Boo (plant-based, dishwasher safe plates, bowls, and cups for kids and adults) and Zungleboo (plant-based, dishwasher safe plates and bowls) are worth the investment for sustainable outdoor eating and entertaining. Lightweight, reusable utensils can be pricey, so consider using what you have or investing in bamboo utensils.
Photo credit to Chic Leaf & Bambu
Tip 2: Be thoughtful about disposables.
Whether it’s a backyard BBQ or an outdoor wedding reception, if you’re hosting a big group and disposables are a must, try these options.
Compostable Paper Plates & Bowls
Odds are, they’re available in your local grocery store. As long as they don’t have a plastic coating, food soiled paper plates, bowls, and napkins can be put in a curbside bin or backyard compost. Yes, grocery store paper plates often come wrapped in plastic, but not always — look for options with the smallest packaging footprint.
Pro tip: If the best compostable paper plate option seems flimsy, check local and online thrift stores for wicker plate holders — this old school option never goes out of sustainable style!
Other Plant-Based Disposables
If you’re looking for something that feels more upscale than compostable paper products, look for products made of these materials:
- Palm Leaves. When palm trees naturally drop their leaves, they’re collected, cleaned, dried, and processed into a solid fiberboard that’s completely compostable. Chic Leaf is one brand that offers palm leaf plates, bowls, and serving trays.
- Bamboo. This highly renewable, hardy plant is an eco-darling for a wide range of products. Similar to palm leaves, parts of the bamboo plant naturally shed during the growing process. These are collected and processed then molded into plates, bowls, utensils, and more. Generally, bamboo materials can be put in a curbside bin (check with your local provider to be sure), or cut up and put in your backyard compost. Check out Bambu for a variety of plates, utensils, and more.
Pro Tip: Be choosy about products labeled “compostable” that will only break down in a commercial facility. While well-intentioned, reality has yet to catch up — only 2% of Americans have access to curbside composting programs. Instead, look for products that are biodegradable or backyard compostable. Check out this guide from Treehugger for more about compostable plates and how to dispose of them.
7 Food Hacks to Save Waste — and Money!
Now that you’ve got the environmentally-friendly outdoor eating and entertaining goods, let’s move on to the main course, food! While it’s time-consuming, preparing food from scratch is a labor of love that never goes unappreciated and always saves waste and money.
To help make the most of your time, here are some of our favorite Stasher Hacks for summertime gatherings . . .
- Guac your world. 🥑 Have you tried the OG Stasher Hack, guacamole? It’s so easy — simply add all ingredients to a bag or bowl then seal, smoosh, and serve.
- Marinate like a master. 🍗 Assemble your marinade ingredients in a Stasher. Seal and shake to combine, then add whatever you’re marinating and place in the fridge until ready to grill. Chef’s note: While you can cook in a Stasher up to 425°F, always place the Stasher on a baking sheet or in a pan. Never place it directly on the grill or oven rack.
- Rise and brine. 🥒 You can’t go wrong with pickled veggies as a condiment. Try this quick, easy method (sous vide or stovetop) that lets you prep, store, and serve from one bowl or bag.
- Have a rice day. 🍚 Make a hearty rice salad using just one bowl! Follow this method to microwave rice in a Stasher, then add your favorite ingredients and dressing. Seal, shake, and serve from the same Stasher.
- Oh, the pasta-bilities. 🍝 Find instructions for how to cook pasta in the microwave (examples here and here), using an 8-Cup Bowl instead of a glass bowl (you’ll see why in a second). Seal the bowl before microwaving, leaving ~2 inches open for the steam to escape. To prevent spillovers or condensation in your microwave, cover the bowl with a lightweight towel. While handling, be careful to protect your hands from the heat. Once the pasta is cooked, seal all but 1 inch at the end of the bag and drain the water, leaving the pasta in the bowl. Let cool, then add in your favorite ingredients and dressing. Seal, shake, and you’re ready to serve from the same bowl.
- Open bar. 🌮🌯 No, we’re not talking about cocktails (although you can definitely mix and serve drinks from Stasher bowls!) We’re talking about a make-your-own taco and burrito bar! Use Stasher bowls and bags to prep fillings and toppings, then store in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, simply serve up each ingredient in the same Stasher (reheating any that are best served warm) along with tortillas for filling and wrapping.
- Just chill. 🍨 Want a fun dessert activity for kids and kids at heart? Set up a DIY homemade ice cream station — no fancy ice cream maker required! Follow this hack for making Stasher ice cream. Lay out ingredients that can be mixed in with the ice cream or used as a topping. You’re bound to capture some fun video and photo memories of this sweet activity!