Wondering what you can do to make this your greenest Super Bowl party ever? These tips will help you score an eco-win on game day.
1. Buy Local, Buy Organic: Besides the game and the commercials, the Super Bowl is about good eats and drinks. So, when out shopping for ingredients, consider purchasing local and organic wherever possible. If you are ordering in, support a locally owned restaurant to maximize the benefit to your local economy. Buy beer in refillable growlers from a local brewery. Finally, only purchase what you need. American’s throw out about 25% percent of the food they buy. The easiest way to reduce this waste (and save money!) is to plan ahead and purchase only what you need. This party planning cheat sheet can help.
2. Waste Not Want Not: If you end up with extra food, consider freezing the leftovers for later, distributing to friends, or donating to those in need. Excess raw ingredients and prepared (but untouched) food can often be donated to the hungry. Reach out to your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter in advance of the Super Bowl to see if they take homemade items, or search the Food Rescue Locator for a local food rescue organization to help make a connection. (Visit ivaluefood.com for more tips on reducing wasted food.)
3. Recycle: One of the easiest things you can do is recycle your party waste. Most communities now offer curbside recycling and accept plastics, glass, metals and paper. If you don’t already have one, set aside a clearly marked recycle bin and ask your guests to take part. Make sure to purchase recyclable service ware or better yet, reduce waste all together by using your washable dishware!
4. Compost Your Food Waste: According to the EPA, Over 36 million tons of food waste reach our landfills each year in the United States. This waste could be prevented, used to feed people, or composted to create rich soil to grow new crops. Discarded food in landfills is not only wasteful, but it creates methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Home composting is easy and clean—it just takes a little getting used to. Click here to learn how you can start composting at home.
5. Go Polystyrene Free. The production of petroleum-based polystyrene (commonly known as Styrofoam) is harmful to the environment. In fact, a 1986 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on solid waste named the polystyrene manufacturing process the fifth largest creator of hazardous waste — and its use may also be harmful to human health. Chemicals can leach out of these products into the food that they contain (especially when heated in a microwave), and styrene is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the EPA and by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Polystyrene is also essentially non-recyclable (since almost no recyclers accept the product), and it will stay intact in landfills for years to come. So skip the foam cups and opt for recyclable plastic, paper, compostable-ware, or reusables.
6. Turn Off Your Engine. If you drive on game day, pledge to go “idle-free.” Every day 3.8 million gallons of fuel are wasted in the U.S by vehicle idling. That’s equivalent to five Olympic-size swimming pools full of fuel! Unnecessary vehicle idling wastes gas and cash, pollutes the air, and is a major contributor to respiratory illnesses like asthma. So when picking up or dropping off a friend, waiting at the drive-through, or grabbing cash at the bank for your Super Bowl pool, remember to “Turn It Off.” To learn more about vehicle idling and take the idle-free pledge, visit iturnitoff.com.
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Photo: Triple Tri via Flickr