How to love your neighbours and the environment with a Big Lunch

The big lunch - zero waste styleMark it in your diaries! Sunday 7 June 2015 is the seventh annual Big Lunch.

If you’re wondering what a Big Lunch is, it’s a fantastic initiative from the Eden Project.

How many of you really know your neighbours, have a relationship with them or even know their names?

The aim of the Big Lunch is to rebuild communities by getting as many people as possible across the whole of the UK to have lunch with their neighbours in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

The results have been astonishing. Last year, 4.83 million people took to their streets, gardens and community spaces for a Big Lunch.

The Eden Project started The Big Lunch in the belief that we, as a society, are better equipped to tackle the challenges that we face when we face them together.

Recent studies show that communities across the UK are more fragmented and provide a lower sense of belonging than 40 years ago. And that by having some fun with our neighbours on one day in the summer, we can build new friendships that we can enjoy for the rest of the year.

And I love how this can tie in with the Zero Waste lifestyle…

Your initial idea might be “It’s a great idea to hold a street party, but what about the waste!?”

We all know how celebrations can be a catastrophe for the environment with disposable plates, uneaten food and gimmicky once-use decorations.

However, with some planning and care the Big Lunch is a chance to demonstrate how people can reduce waste and live more sustainably. If you think about it, it’s the perfect opportunity to start a conversation, pique someone’s curiosity and share ideas in a non-threatening way.

Imagine Doris commenting on your cute jam far, tied with raffia and holding a few freshly cut flowers from your garden. It’s your chance to tell her how you love finding re-use ideas for common household objects.

Perhaps James will be thrilled when he is given some pasta salad and quiche to take home. “Well, I don’t like food waste” you tell him with a smile…

Picture the twins from three doors down telling you their favourite part of the day was playing skittles with old tin cans. You can share some other ideas for upcycling old materials…

I’m thrilled to have been asked to write a blog with my “Six Simple Tips for a Zero Waste Big Lunch.

You’ll learn that there’s a real connection between holding a Big Lunch and making use of existing resources at home and in your neighbourhood.

And you’ll be delighted to hear that nothing is difficult, nothing requires a lot of money and you’ve probably already thought of most of these ideas yourselves.

You’ll discover it’s as simple as making it easier for people to recycle than throw away: Have separate containers for glass bottles, Tetra Pak juice cartons and paper then create a volunteer recycling team to make sure these valuable materials end up in the right place.

You didn’t know you could recycle Tetra Pak cartons? With 91% of local authorities collecting cartons from bring banks and 61% with kerbside collections, there’s something nearby for most of us. Find your nearest recycling facility by clicking on the image below.

where can i recycle tetra pak cartons

And if anyone is planning a zero waste lunch then please get in touch, as the Big Lunch are looking for some case studies to inspire other lunchers.

Tell me; what would be your number one tip for organising a Zero Waste street party?

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Rachelle Strauss

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