5 Easy Swaps to Have a Plastic-Free Summer Gathering

Vaccines are now going into arms at an unprecedented rate and people are starting to turn their eyes towards a warm and wonderful summer full of sun, sand, and barbeques with family. Unfortunately, we are all too familiar of with the kind of plastic waste that outdoor gatherings can generate.


Here are some of the biggest plastic offenders during the summer season, and sustainable swaps you can make to reduce your plastic footprint.


Plastic Utensils


These is at the top of the list because they are one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste on the planet. Estimates put plastic cutlery waste at around 40 billion utensils wasted per year worldwide.


So, for your next BBQ, skip the plastic knives and forks altogether and raid the silverware drawer instead. You’ll be saving unnecessary plastic waste that is often un-recyclable because it’s too soiled and flimsy to be repurposed.

If you’re heading to a picnic, pack your own cutlery and bring it with you! You can raid your silverware drawer or grab one of these handy bamboo cutlery sets that has everything you need to picnic without waste.


Or if it’s available to you, try out edible cutlery! These utensil-shaped crackers allow you to skip the dishes and enjoy your meal without any waste.


Plastic Bags


We get it, you were running late and you had to grab a few things from the store before you got to the potluck. But don’t show up laden with single-use plastic grocery bags in your arms. These end up trapped in waterways and oceans, ruining beach days for communities across the world who are buried in plastic waste.


Instead, make sure to grab a reusable tote every time you leave the house, so you can say “no thank you” to plastic bags during your last-minute grocery run.


Party Decorations


As we all look forward to celebrating together with family and friends again, you may be tempted to fill your cart with streamers, banners, and balloons from your favorite party store. Unfortunately, many of these party supplies are cheap, un-recyclable plastics that will spend a few hours giving joy to your guests but live on in a landfill for hundreds of years.

Instead of streamers, try organic decorations such as:

  • Flowers
  • Live plants
  • Banners made from hemp or cotton
  • Bamboo paper streamers
  • Cloth table covers


Decorating doesn’t have to be unsustainable to be fun and beautiful!


Plastic Cups


Just like utensils, plastic cups are a single-use plastic that are overtaking our planet by the billions. It’s time to break up with our favorite red cups and opt for more sustainable options.


If you’re hosting a party, consider providing your guests with glass drinkware such as traditional glasses or even mason jars they can take home with them and re-use. Consider also serving drinks in non-traditional drinkware, such as coconut cups or half of a small melon. These are a fun and biodegradable option that require no cleanup later!


If you’re attending an event, bring your own reusable cup or tumbler so you can enjoy a refreshing drink without the unnecessary waste.


Disposable Straws


You knew this one would make the list, because it’s still a huge problem worldwide and yet such a simple fix. Plastic straws litter our oceans and waterways by the billions, and are a serious hazard to sea life as well.


Instead, provide your guests with more sustainable options. Paper straws are a good start, but like all paper products, they also contribute to deforestation, a huge factor in climate change. Even better options are straws made from sustainable, bio-degradable materials such as bamboo. Some bars have even supplied their patrons with hollow pasta noodles as a sustainable straw alternative.

RIO provides sustainable bamboo straws in packs of ten, so you can give your guests a party favor that also helps rid the ocean of plastic pollution while preventing new waste from accumulating!  


Whether enjoying the sun on your own or visiting with your close friends, being outdoors doesn’t have to be synonymous with plastic waste anymore. Make this the summer you reduce your plastic footprint while enjoying the warmer months.


You can help stop plastic pollution in our oceans by purchasing products from companies dedicated to producing plastic-free, sustainable products. RIO not only helps you stock up on sustainable goods, but is also dedicated to using the proceeds to rid our oceans of plastic once and for all.