SUSTAINABILITY IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY: INTRODUCTION + CATERING

Over the next week I will be publishing a series of articles about sustainability within the wedding industry and how suppliers are making some positive changes to become more environmentally friendly. I urge you, if you read nothing else on my blog, to follow this week long series….

This is a topic I have wanted to explore for a while now. In my personal life I don’t do anything conscious to be environmentally friendly, other than the normal household recycling bin (which I have no idea what I can and can’t recycle in my local area – so I put it all in). It’s not because I don’t care; it’s because I just haven’t thought about it. Following a girly weekend away with one of my dear friends, who is way more in tune with “everything” compared to me, I realised I am being so blinkered not doing anything! And as a mother of two children, isn’t it my motherly duty to educate my children and lead by example; it’s their future this affects.

My friend has a bamboo toothbrush and she said she’d seen an Instagram post that read “it’s just one plastic toothbrush… it’s just one billion plastic toothbrushes”.  As I am writing this introduction, the News headline today is saying global warming isn’t slowing down but is in fact increasing dramatically. So now, more than ever, is the time to start doing something, however small, to change the way we live, because we can’t ignore the wasteful society we are currently living in.

I know it’s so hard to make positive changes to recycle more and be less wasteful when companies aren’t offering better solutions; the amount of plastic packaging I throw away is scary. I have been working behind the scenes at weddings and parties for seven years now but until I sat down to think about sustainability within the wedding industry, the environmental impact weddings cause hadn’t even crossed my mind. But it’s just one wedding…. It’s just 220,000 weddings”!

This is absolutely not a topic I wanted to write to shame; quite the opposite. I am not the expert, far, far from it, but I wanted to highlight the problem happening week on week in the industry I work in, and speak to some industry experts to ask them how they think their sector can and already has started moving towards a more sustainable way of creating and running events. A wedding doesn’t have to be completely eco-friendly, but something, however small, is a great contribution to improving our environmental impact.


YOUR CATERER

Catering, for the majority of my clients, is one of the main focuses for their wedding. Treating their guests to exceptional food and drink is so important as they host their family and friends through canapes, dinner and evening munchies. However, making your catering sustainable and eco-friendly doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your look and feel of your wedding (opting to use paper plates). And with most caterers also offering drink service, staffing and tableware, this is a supplier that arguably deals with one of the largest proportions of “waste” that comes with hosting a wedding. I asked Social Pantry, a leading London caterer, what their sustainability ethos is and how they limit their waste, whilst retaining an exceptionally high level of service and without compromising on the quality of their food.

‘Our ethos at Social Pantry is to make fresh, seasonal and delicious food with a minimal impact on the environment. We strive to ensure that our whole operation is zero food waste; from using up ‘wonky’ veg in recipes like our wonky carrot humous to being uncompromising about ensuring the amount of food we make each day is bang on. We use very little plastic and throw-away packaging. Where we have to use packaging, it’s always recyclable. Another important way to keep things sustainable is to ensure we’re picky about the suppliers we work with, for example we ensure that we use as much local and seasonal produce as possible, and work with suppliers who have the same ethos as us.’

As well as minimising food waste, sourcing local produce (to minimise the carbon footprint) and eliminate plastic packaging, you could also think about creating a delicious vegetarian menu; not for everyone, I know, but cutting down on some of the meat ingredients on your wedding day may certainly help to reduce your carbon footprint. The astronomical impact to the environment it takes to put a beef wellington on your plate is staggering.

If you are having a marquee wedding, why don’t you set up a recycling area where your suppliers can separate glass, cardboard and food waste; rather than just having one large skip where everything all goes into a land fill.

Ask you caterer if they can use bamboo cocktail sticks in their canapes rather than plastic and if you are having an evening cater from a van, ask them to bring recyclable plates and cutlery rather than plastic. I have often gone around with a black bin bag at the end of the night binning plastic cutlery. Opt for something such as palm leaf plates and wooden knives and forks; they even look nicer than plastic.


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WITH THANKS TO SOCIAL PANTRY

socialpantry.co.uk