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Avoid mad trash at this year's Final Four celebration

Basketball fans rejoice! Minnesota is again hosting a big sports finale. College basketball’s Final Four will be held in downtown Minneapolis in April. If you missed your chance to get tickets, no problem. We have the tips you need to host a zero waste Final Four party of your own.

Keep decorations simple

You may tell yourself you’ll use basketball-themed decorations year after year, but a regular bowl used year-round will hold that party dip just as well. This will also save you money and storage space. Decorate with what you already have, like real basketballs and jerseys, instead of balloons or cutouts. You can also make your decorations edible by using round shapes and an orange color theme. You could try things like oranges, carrots, bell peppers, red pepper hummus, or dips made from butternut squash or sweet potatoes.

Buy your beer and cider in bulk

With so many microbrewery options in the Twin Cities, it’s easy to purchase your beer and cider in growlers or kegs and keep it local as well! If beer and cider aren’t your thing, try one of the local distilleries for vodka, gin or whiskey. If alcohol won’t be a part of your celebration, look for your favorite sodas and juices in larger containers instead of single serve containers. Fill a pitcher with tap water and ice instead of buying bottled water.

Use durable serving ware

Pull out the real plates, utensils and napkins and treat your guests in style. While basketball-printed party supplies may be tempting, they cannot be recycled or composted. And really, have you ever heard someone say, “No really, I prefer the plastic utensils”? If you don’t have enough plates, bowls, napkins or utensils, borrow some from a family member, neighbor or friend. Or, if you host a lot of gatherings, pick up an extra set at your local thrift store.

Minimize wasted food

Get an accurate count of your guests ahead of time and prepare just enough food for those attending. Keep an eye on the food throughout the party – keep hot foods hot and refrigerate any cold foods before they sit out too long. If you have food left over, pack it up for guests to take with them or freeze some of it to eat later.

Collect recyclables and compostable material

Put your  recycling, trash and organics containers together and make sure they are well labeled to help guests get the right material into the correct container. If guests aren’t familiar with composting, explain what is compostable and what isn’t. If you don’t have curbside organics recycling but want to collect food waste and napkins, check for nearby drop-off options.

For more information about low waste events and Hennepin County resources, visit Recycling at events.