Sustainability in events
The events industry is notorious for waste, something that has always weighed heavily on us at Dazzle & Fizz. At D&F, we aim to deliver sustainable events that have a positive, lasting impact on both the guests and the environment.
We use zero single-use plastics at our events and upcycle over 80% of our sets and props, using sustainable materials wherever possible. Our offices and team members are carbon offset via our partner, Ecologi and we extend this facility to all event partners via our optional carbon offset levy. To see the positive ecological work we’ve contributed to so far, visit our digital forest here.
We’re continually striving to do better; with guests at events producing more than double an average person’s daily waste, it’s crucial that we address every aspect of an event so below are some of our thoughts and tips on the five main pain points of event industry waste to consider when hosting your own events; food and drink, tableware and decorations, costumes and props, balloons and party favours.
Food & Drink
Food waste within the events industry is an epidemic, with just over 1/3 of professionals admitting to throwing away at least 15% of the food they commission for events. The standard rule when it comes to catering is ‘more is more’, after all nobody wants to be left empty handed when their guests are still hungry: the fear of running out is real!
It’s estimated that 821 million people globally do not have enough food to eat, yet every year a staggering 1/3 of all food grown- roughly 1.3 billion tonnes – is wasted. Recently scientists and experts concluded that reducing food waste is the 3rd most effective solution to solving climate change, coming above solar power and electric cars!
The idea of throwing away perfectly good food has become commonplace; we must change our behaviours and attitudes to adapt the way we tackle event catering:
1. Replenishing is key: Rather than putting everything out at once, put out small quantities and refill as and when needed. It seems obvious but as soon as food is taken out of the fridge, the clock starts ticking. Generally speaking, food only has a 2hr lifespan once it’s at room temperature.
2. Portion control: Rather than a buffet try to offer individual servings to reduce waste. This works really well at children’s parties when you can use treat boxes.
3. Olio is an amazing free app that connects left over food to those who could make use of it. Simply upload the information about the available food to the app and have it quickly collected for use elsewhere, incredible!
4. Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint, is to opt for a vegetarian party menu. Try crème cheese sandwiches, carrot and cucumber crudités, popcorn and a cupcake for example. It’s also simpler, and less likely to produce waste if you’re just serving one menu.
Tableware and Decorations
Tableware and catering displays make such a huge impact on the overall style of your event – and are something we’re renowned for at Dazzle & Fizz – but there are a number of ways you can help to reduce their environmental impact.
1. Reusable tableware is, of course, the most eco-friendly choice, however disposable tableware has come a long way from white paper plates and scratchy napkins. It is a wonderful option for both children’s parties and outdoor gatherings. We recently collaborated with Party Pieces on their very own eco-range of tableware, including napkins, cups, plates and table runners. Made from eco FSC-certified paper, they’re fully recyclable. A portion of sales from the ‘King and Queen of the Sea’ range is also donated to Big Blue Ocean Cleanup – a global charity doing vital work to safeguard the world’s oceans.
2. Choose decorations wisely and keep them to reuse again and again. Buying good quality means they can be passed on to friends, family and charity shops, giving them a second or even a third life. Upcycling the props you already own will not only save the planet, it will save you money too. And children love seeing the same familiar accessories year-after-year, as do we as adults!
Props and Costumes
There is no better party than a fancy dress party, whatever your age. We love everything about it. The costumes, hair, make-up, props, the more extra the better! The downside however, is the sheer amount of plastic waste that can be created with certain retailers. A 2019 investigation by Hubbub into seasonal outfits, estimated that in the UK Halloween alone caused an estimated 2,000 tonnes of plastic waste, with 83% of purchases likely to end up in a landfill.
1. Party Pieces has an amazing selection of children’s fancy dress. We particularly love this ‘Starry Night’ cape with hat, as it’s both gorgeous and will best survive growth-spurts, due to the cape design. And as it’s unisex, there will be plenty of opportunities for siblings to share!
2. Upcycling old clothing and household items into costumes is such a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy together. Not only will it help to reduce waste, but it will completely eliminate the chance of a ‘who wore it better’ situation, as nobody will have the same costume as you!
3. Swap shop! Playing dress up in somebody else’s clothing is just as fun as buying new, so why not arrange a swap shop with your friends and family before a party or seasonal event.
4. Charity shops are a cave of wonders for costumes and accessories, you never know what you might find! With the fashion industry accounting for about 8-10% of global carbon emissions and nearly 20% of wastewater, buying second hand is a great way to reduce these statistics and items destined for a landfill.
Balloons get a bad press when it comes to sustainability, but just like most things, if you do a little research you’ll find there is a way to be friendlier to the Earth.
1. Opting for latex rather than foil balloons is a great way to start. Foil balloons NEVER completely degrade, they can however be reused if deflated carefully. Party Pieces has a huge range of latex balloon options online; check out this stunning pastel set.
2. Helium is a non-renewable natural resource and given that it has many important uses from medial to industrial and scientific, we should look to reduce our use of this scarce natural gas as much as possible. What’s crucial is preventing them being released: it can cause injury to wildlife, power cuts and create litter. Suspended air filled aerial installations are a great alternative as they give the height and wow factor, without the need for helium.
3. Air-filled balloons do not pose the same risk, as they cannot float, they do however still need disposing of correctly. Removing any ties or strings and cutting into smaller pieces will all help the degrading process.
Take Home Gifts
At Dazzle & Fizz, we have a zero single-use plastic policy across all of our tableware, party decorations and party favours. Our children can attend so many parties across the school year, that our homes can become full of little pieces of plastic that often get lost or forgotten so we’d suggest:
1. Choose fewer, larger gifts, as opposed to lots of small plastic items. Party Pieces has so many great gifts to choose from that will last long after the party has finished. This ‘Sew your own Charlie the Lion’ gift is perfect for craft young guests.
2. Games and puzzles make great party favours, as not only are they educational, but they encourage family interaction and traditional play. We love this Wild Wonders puzzle.
3. Get retro! Party Pieces has a range of nostalgic gifts online, including marbles, wooden spinning tops and every 80’s child’s favourite toy – a Slinky!
We hope this has inspired you to think about your choices when planning your next event. Remember the silver lining to the problem is that we can all be the solution!