My inbox was inundated with questions about ethical living. ‘Where do you buy a bamboo toothbrush?’, ‘How do I reduce my waste?’, ‘Do you know any good clothing companies that don’t exploit their workers?’
So I decided to gather some gal pals and host an evening suitably titled ‘Babe, let’s get ethical’. I made a Facebook event, wrote a quiz, and got together every sustainable buy I own! Our living room looked like an overwhelmingly colourful eco-friendly shop come ethical living version of QVC (I’ve always wanted to be a TV presenter!). Friends invited friends, and we spent a good few hours chatting rubbish. Literally.
Here’s how I rustled up an event to tell my friends about waste and how you can do the same!
Stage 1: Event format
First things first, what’s your idea? What’s the vision? My event basically comprised of a quiz, a show and tell section, and a clothes swap. But perhaps you’d like to host a zero waste toothpaste making evening, or an ethical fashion show! I hosted about 25 friends in my uni house, but you could always get your church or local coffee house as a venue. If event planning is feeling a bit overwhelming get a team around you (my housemates provided the tunes and lots of tea!)
Stage 2: Get the word out there
Next you’ll want to make a Facebook event, message some pals, or hand out invites. I aimed to invite friends who had messaged me about my recent ethical living posts on social media. I was surprised to see how excited everyone was, and even more surprised that they invited uni mates to come along. My event was pretty busy but it may be just as effective to invite 5 friends around for dinner and cook a food waste meal with them!
Stage 3: Do your research
I was super clear at my event that I don’t have all the answers, but it did help to do some research beforehand. In making a quiz about climate change and the impact of our lifestyles I learnt loads! It was worth checking fact sources and using reliable websites. I also had some infographics ready for people who wanted to know more. To make the quiz a bit more fun (climate change is a pretty depressing topic) I gave out reusable makeup wipes as prizes! Whether you have a masters in sustainable development or just follow a few cool zero waste Instagrammers, you have the potential to influence your friends. For me, hosting an event was about starting a conversation and not guilt tripping people.
Stage 4: Snacks
(Yes, snacks have their own paragraph). We all know that refreshments can make or break an event, so I put real thought into the drinks and nibbles! While living ethically isn’t about perfection, I think integrity is important. I bought Fairtrade wine and tea, and baked some flapjacks using ingredients that were free from plastic packaging. Those little details show guests how much you care.
Stage 5: The event itself
When the event day came I donned my dungarees and got to work setting up our house. I loaded my washing basket with zero waste products from my bathroom, kitchen and wardrobe. The living room became a makeshift TV studio ready for viewers to learn about all things reusable. The dining room was transformed into a clothes swap shop complete with a clothes rail and vibey music. During the event I left space for questions, and let me tell you, the gals did not hold back! It was great to see people taking notes and sharing tips.
Stage 6: Follow up
There was such a buzz at the event, but I was keen to make sure this didn’t fizzle out. Once everyone had left I posted on the event page every shop/company/website I had mentioned that evening. Weeks later I am still receiving photos from friends of purchases from Know The Origin and the like! So whether it’s a full on event or just a low key meetup, make sure you follow up questions and equip your mates to start their own ethical living journey.