Summer is all about picnics, barbecues, and parties – especially now that we can socialize with our friends and family again! Which, unfortunately, often means increased waste…Planet New Canaan is here to help! With a few simple changes, you can ensure your summer celebrations are as green as they are fun!

1. Ditch the disposables! All those single-use plates, utensils, and drinkware are not recyclable and end up right in the trash. A simple solution is to invest in reusable options. When that just isn’t feasible, opt for compostable options like sustainably-sourced palm leaf plates, bamboo cutlery, and plant-based ‘plastic’ cups.

2. Shop locally! Not only does it help support our community, but it also cuts down on packaging waste. Consider growing a garden in your yard or purchasing your produce from local farms at the New Canaan Farmers Market, Walter Stewart’s Market, or Pound Ridge Organics.

3. At your parties, have three CLEARLY LABELED separate bins: Compost (food and any compostable single-use items); Recycle; and Trash. It will make your clean-up job a breeze! Don’t forget to use compostable trash bags for the compost bin – makes transporting your compost easier!

4. Do the planet a favor and scrap traditional favors. Instead opt for fun and colorful reusable cups or water bottles as favors at parties and gatherings, and consciously choose the favors for birthday goodie bags.

5. Bye-bye balloons… As in, nix them all together! Protect our wildlife and keep our waterways clean and safe by avoiding balloons and choosing more sustainable décor that can be reused (and save yourself some dough too – money literally flies away with those balloons!). Sustainable décor ideas include: potted flowers as centerpieces; and rice paper lanterns and garlands or fabric pennant banners that can be reused and then recycled at their end of life.

6. No more paper! Fabric tablecloths and napkins can be affordably purchased online. We like the wide variety available at