Update – Since the timing of this post, the landscape of the pandemic in the region and beyond has changed substantially. Our recommendation would be to consider a virtual event for your organization once again this year and to continue to follow the recommendation of public health for in person events.

Welcome back to the second week of our Culture of Sustainability Holiday Series! If you missed last week’s blog post on sustainable gift giving in Waterloo Region where we featured both members and local businesses, you can find it here

If you are choosing an in person holiday event this year for your organization, please keep reading for tips and tricks on sustainable décor, catering and more. In response to recent recommendations from both the Ontario Science Advisory Table and Waterloo Region’s Medical Officer in regards to hosting larger social events this holiday season,  please consider a virtual or outdoor event if your organization has a more significant guest list!

Use reusable items whenever possible

If you are enjoying food and drinks with coworkers this year, using reusable items can make a big impact on the amount of waste created at your party. Use real plates, cups, utensils and serving trays whenever possible instead of disposable items such as paper and plastic. Don’t have your own tableware, rental companies like ABC Party Time Rental and ABC Rentals Cambridge are great choices! 

If using real tableware is not an option due to safety or availability, there are a number of great sustainable disposable options on the market. Greenovation is a Canadian company that provides premium quality dinnerware from the naturally fallen leaves of the Areca palm tree. Greenmunch offers a wide variety of sustainable food packaging, from coffee cups to food wrap. 

Sustainable Decorations – Look no further than Mother Nature!

Holiday decorations for your gathering don’t need to be complicated. Heading outdoors to collect items from nature is a great place to start. Seasonal nature items such as twigs, pinecones and coniferous branches look beautiful in jars, vases and containers that you already have at home or the office. Garlands like the one pictured below are easy to put together with dried fruit slices. Full instructions can be found here

Want to add some seasonal sparkle? Purchase high quality items that can continue to be reused year after year and choose wooden or glass options when available! Try visiting one of the region’s local markets such as the  Winter Artisan Market or The Cambridge Christmas Market to find handcrafted items from local artists. 

It’s all about the food!

Hiring a caterer this year for your party? Waterloo Region has a number of terrific options. When it comes to what is on the menu, choose plant based appetizers, meals and desserts when you can. Check out the list below for a selection of local catering options:

Skipping the catering and having a potluck within your organization instead? Join us for next week’s blog post for plant based recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts. If you are heading to a restaurant for your gathering, check out Copper Branch, The Bauer Kitchen and Borealis

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