Going Out Without Losing Your Plastic-free Mindset
Updated: Jan 16, 2019
It's not easy being green, but being eco-conscious doesn't have to limit what you do. You can have a fun night while still minimizing your footprint. You just have to keep your green goal in mind.
Let’s start at the very beginning, what are you wearing? It’s easy to pass by a store and fall in love with something in the window. It's cheap, cute, and definitely your style, but fast-fashion is not your friend. It is one of the most wasteful industries both on the production side, through resource-use and pollution, and the end-use side, since everything is designed last no longer than one season. Instead, try looking for new clothes at local stores that make long lasting products or thrift stores, which sell clothes without adding any new materials to the planet.
Second, what are you drinking? Try opting for something local to reduce waste from transportation and in a recyclable container, like a beer from your town's brewery. Microbreweries are popping up everywhere, and while this trend is creating a lot of new, fun places to hang out, it's also making the world a little greener.
Most breweries use real glasses instead of plastic cups, have you sip your drink instead of giving out straws, and, if they sell food, use real plates instead of paper or Styrofoam. On top of that microbreweries are generally into being eco-friendly! Many breweries like Harpoon in Boston use their spent grains to make their pretzels or give it to local farms to feed their livestock, cutting down on waste and costs.
If you’re not in the mood for a brewery, that’s ok! You can still be eco-conscious at a club, you just have to be motivated. Start thinking about where you're going. Do they give out plastic wristbands? While it may seem like a little thing, if a couple hundred people go each night, those wristbands add up to pound on pounds of plastic that could easily be avoided.
Once you're inside, try to avoid single use plastic straws and cups. This could be by ordering a nicer drink that comes in a glass, or simply asking the bartender for one. A quick scan of any dance floor will show you what happens to these single use plastics once their drinks are gone.
If you’re anything like me, a night out will end with some mouth-watering, fast food. (It’s impossible to pass up on drunk pizza!) Don’t let your green night out end on a bad note, and dine-in rather than get something to go. Eating in means you can use real plates and silverware rather than plastic ones. You get to decide how many napkins you need, eliminating wasted paper, and it let’s you put condiments in paper cups instead of using a bunch of plastic sauce packets. An all-around win!
A night on the town also comes with a couple, hidden environmental costs. A big one being transportation. While you’re probably not going to bike home from a bar, you can still be eco-friendly on your way there. You can take public transportation, just remember to look up what time the last train or bus leaves and set an alarm on your phone so you don’t miss it. An even easier option is to use a ride-sharing app like Lyft line or Uber pool to carpool. By sharing the ride, you're taking one more car off the road and making the night a little greener.
Just because you want to go green doesn’t mean you want to spend your Friday night hugging trees, and going plastic free doesn’t have to ruin your fun! Keep these tips in mind (and maybe share them), and you can easily be plastic-free and still have a wild night out.