Guide to reducing food waste at outdoor events

Whenever there are events throughout the year it's a good time to think about food waste beyond the kitchen, as events often lead to lots of uneaten food, and contribute to Brighton & Hove's overall environmental impact. Here are some tips on making sure the food at your event is enjoyed to the fullest and stays safe as well.

What can you do?

Have a list of what people are making or bringing
Encourage everyone to include the number of servings, if they can, so you can get a sense of how much food there will be.

Make a little less than you think you need to
Parties and catered events frequently have more food than is necessary. If your event is catered, consider ordering slightly less.

Love those leftovers
And not just yesterday’s leftovers - make use of odd bits and ends knocking about in your fridge. Many love-your-leftovers dishes are also reliable crowd-pleasers, so visit to get inspired, and check out some of our own favourites.

If you're having a street party, encourage people to bring their own plates, cups and cutlery
Not only does it minimise disposable plate and cutlery waste, people are more likely to finish their plates if they have to take them home later.

Ask people to bring storage containers
At the end of the party, encourage everyone to take the leftovers home and put them to good use. If your event is catered, why not speak to the caterers about providing take-away containers for attendees.

Keep the packaging that food comes in
This is especially good with things like lids to dips. When it’s time to clear away, it’s easy to know where to put things.

Keep it cool
Whether it's a street party, a BBQ or a picnic, food in outdoor summer conditions can pose health risks if not stored properly. Make sure to keep high risk items such as raw meat and foods containing mayonnaise cool, and only take out what you need, getting more later. If going to a picnic, leave food in the fridge until you're ready to head out.

If you're preparing or serving food, check the following:

You can also visit our Food Safety Guidance page for more advice and information.

Compost it if you can
If you're having a street party, find out who has a compost bin at home and ask them to be the event’s Compost Champion.  Make it easy for others to compost things like apple cores and tea bags by having a few compost caddies at the event, making sure to clearly label what can go it.

Make it known
Advertise your party as a green event and let others know what you're doing to minimise the impact on our environment and what they can do to help. Go further than food and encourage people to recycle at your event, if possible, or host an activity that heightens environmental awareness.

More information

Visit our Sustainable Events page for more information.