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how to have a low waste new year’s eve

Photo by Nordwood Themes

Author: Laura Yurincich

Waste can be as much a part of New Year’s Eve celebrations as hangovers and fireworks. This year, try a sustainable approach. Bare Market blogger Laura breaks down how you can celebrate NYE in low waste way, without compromising on fun.


When I think of New Year’s Eve I picture champagne, glitter, snow covered feet while trying to hail a taxi, vomiting the next morning…and waste. Fortunately, with a few small changes you can enjoy the celebrations without the waste.

The Outfit

When I remember past NYE celebrations, I don’t remember the amazing outfit I was wearing; I remember the fun I had with my friends. This year, don’t splurge on a new glamorous outfit, save the planet, and your bank account by considering the alternatives and end 2018 in a low-waste way. 

Clothing Swap

  • Host a clothing swap with your friends before the big day, and trade any of your old clothes for a new outfit.

Thrift Shop

  • Toronto is littered with great second-hand shops that offer unique pieces at a discount. Before Kind Exchanges closed down they were my favourite - now I frequent Value Village.

Bunz It

  • If you haven’t heard, Bunz is a cash-free trading zone that allows you to trade your unwanted items (clothing, jewelry, food, plants, etc.) or services for other items or services. The app is filled with new and used clothing that you can trade for.

Make an Old Outfit New Again

  • The greenest outfit you can wear is one that you already own. Learn to extend the life of your clothing by mixing and matching to make a new outfit, ie. layer a plain shirt with multiple statement necklaces, have a skirt or pair of pants hemmed to change the length, or revamp an old dress with a brooch or belt.

By choosing one of these options you are avoiding adding to unnecessary waste when purchasing new clothing that you don’t really need. Instead, you’re taking used clothing out of the waste stream and giving it new life. Remember, textiles account for approximately 5% of greenhouse gas emissions.


Photo by Brooke Lark

The Alcohol

Regardless of where you are drinking, there are low waste options for you.

At home:

  • Offer your guests reusable glasses for their drinks, or use mason jars (second hand of course) for each guest to drink out of, and let them take it home as a party favour (also, less washing up for you!)
  • Buy drink mixers that come in recyclable glass bottles, such as seltzer or orange juice, or aluminum cans such as pop.

At a party:

  • If it is BYOB, buy beer in aluminum cans (avoid cans that are attached with plastic rings), or purchase wine that comes in glass bottles. Always make sure to recycle the cans, bottles, and boxes when done, and you can compost wine corks in backyard composting, or bury them in a household plant if you do not have access to compost.
  • If the host has provided single use plastic cups for their guests, ask to use a glass from their cupboard, and let them know you will wash it at the end of the night to reduce their cleanup time. Remember that being zero waste doesn’t mean avoiding the party or the fun, but making small changes to fit your lifestyle!

At the bar:

  • Skip drinks served in plastic cups and opt for draft beer or cocktails served in glass.
  • Ask for “no straw please” with any drinks. 

The Extras

A big part of being low waste is refusing items that you do not need. On NYE it can be almost guaranteed that party hats, glasses that say “Happy New Year” and confetti cannons will be part of the festivities. Do not buy these, and politely decline them if they are offered.

Single use party favours will detract from your enjoyment of the night, but they will add to the unnecessary waste that is disposed of the next day. Take pictures not disposables.

The Morning After

Start the New Year off with a low waste approach. Buy your morning tea or coffee beans in bulk. Make clean up a breeze by using reusable unpaper towel and concentrated cleaning vinegar (yup, found at bare market!). Cook up the hangover breaky of your dreams using thoughtfully pre-purchased, package-free groceries (you’ll be super thankful that pre-hangover you remembered to buy eggs and bread on Dec 31st).

The Lesson

Having a low waste NYE is not hard; it just takes a little foresight. Regardless of how you spend your evening, make sure to be safe, have fun, and enjoy your last night of 2018!


About the author: Laura graduated with a Master's Degree in Political Science from McMaster University, and is currently a hardworking bureaucrat. She was drawn to bare market for its package free laundry detergent, but has stayed to share her experience transitioning to a low waste lifestyle. 


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