Pride month is an exciting time of year. It’s a month where important conversations are easier to have, because an entire month has been dedicated to them. It’s empowering for those in the LGBTQIA+ community, and educational for those who aren’t. This is a great reason to throw a party in its honor—a zero-waste pride party!
If you want some inspiration, here are some ideas for throwing your own zero-waste pride party:
The food should be every shade of the rainbow. Vegan food happens to be super ideal for that, thanks to its focus on fresh produce. Buy local ingredients as much as possible to reduce the footprint of the event (and for the food to taste its best), and try to support places that prioritize the planet—like your local co-op, or grocery store that offers bulk bins. For the meal, you could make a veggie platter shaped like the rainbow, or you could get more creative.
Try assigning every guest a color to bring, and have a potluck! If someone is assigned purple for example, they could bring blackberry pie with lavender ice cream, or these raw cheesecake squares! To avoid waste, ask everyone to bring a few plates, glasses, and cutlery from home if you don’t have enough yourself. For easy clean-up, have a tub filled with soapy water ready for people to place their dirty dishes in. Then all you have to do is rinse them off, and send them home with the guests. Otherwise, consider buying compostable dishes and cutlery, and dropping them off after at your local compost site (check your local garden).
If you’d rather make the food yourself, try making colorful foods like red bruschetta, orange citrus polenta cake, yellow lemon pasta, green spinach salad, blue roasted potatoes, and purple blackberries. It’s awesome when the food goes together like this Mediterranean theme so it feels more polished, but it doesn’t have to. For a Nordic theme, try making red lingonberry jam, orange roasted carrots, yellow crispy potatoes, green agurksalat, blue pickled blueberries, and purple rødkål.
Another option is to do a rainbow hummus bar, and offer colorful local veggies for dipping into the rainbow-colored hummuses. You can make orange hummus with turmeric, green with basil, and pink with beet juice! This is great for an easier clean-up, or for if you aren’t a huge fan of cooking. A similar option with the same benefits is to have a toast bar. Have local toast, with colorful toppings for different colors. For example, have green avocados for an avocado toast option, or salted heirloom tomatoes for red or orange, or strawberry coconut whipped cream for a sweet and pink option.
You could also do a rainbow beverage station with the food or by itself! Try making a rainbow coffee bar (using turmeric, matcha, and pulverized freeze-dried strawberries to make milks and coconut whipped creams colorful), a juice bar, or iced teas made with foraged goodies like in-season blueberries (this colorful recipe is great for that).
Balloons are horrible for the environment and the wildlife, so instead, opt for zero-waste decor. Try using rainbow paper streamers or dried flowers (even better if you forage for them yourself). If you live near the coast where there is a lot of sea glass or seashells, put them in jars based on color and place them around the celebration space. You could also use things you already have in your home like gems, artwork, candles, and scarves (hang them like streamers). This will not only be colorful and completely zero-waste, but it will look beautiful too.
If you are going to buy decorations, make sure you go with a place that doesn’t use plastic in the production or shipping process. A great place to find this kind of thing is on Etsy, so make sure you order in advance.
Pride is a time of celebrating the rainbow, so tell your guests that the dress code is just that—rainbow! Otherwise, you can assign each person a color, ask them to wear their favorite one, or consider focusing on the pride flag of a certain sexuality (this is great if you are newly out and want to celebrate your own flag—for example if you’re pan, the dress code is pink, yellow, and blue).
When it comes to glitter and makeup, avoid traditional brands, as they use a lot of plastic both in the production process and ingredients. Buy zero-waste glitter online, or instead paint your face! With makeup, use zero-waste brands or whatever you have on hand!
Your playlist is an important part of any gathering, and your zero-waste pride party is no exception. Make a playlist featuring exclusively queer artists like Miley Cyrus, Troye Sivan, Lady Gaga, Tyler Glenn, or any other of your favorites. You could even make it a week in advance, and share it with guests so they can add their favorites to it.
Another way to honor pride with music is to make the playlist color-themed, and feature songs that have colors in them or in their titles. Otherwise, play songs that are empowering or have helped you be courageously yourself if you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community (if you’re not, ask your queer friends to add to it or give suggestions).
No zero-waste pride party is complete without a little advocacy, right? To attend the party, ask your guests to donate $5 to an organization that helps those in the LGBTQIA+ community, whether that be a national organization like the Trevor Project, or one local to you.
While it’s fun to celebrate pride for the joy and individuality that it honors, it’s also so vital that people include advocacy in their celebrations. It’s frustrating for those of us who are queer to see straight people cover themselves in glitter and use pride parades for photo ops, while not giving anything back. Don’t make that mistake if you’re straight, and don’t let your straight friends do it if you’re not.
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Photo: Emily Iris Degn