In any given two-week period, according to research by NPD Group, 40% of Americans will eat ice cream, making ice cream socials and other gatherings appropriate at any time of the year. But as people start to focus more on sustainability, you'll have to do your best to make a good impression and be environmentally responsible when it comes to selecting the best materials and supplies. All it takes is a bit of diligence on your end to ensure that all of the materials you choose are eco-friendly. Here are just a few of the best sustainable materials for your next ice cream social or gathering.
Paper StrawsPaper straws are quickly growing in popularity as researchers realize just how environmentally damaging their plastic counterparts can be. Plastic straws take years to biodegrade and aren't generally recyclable. They're clogging up our oceans and damaging our beautiful marine wildlife. Invest in paper straws for your next gathering, which are just as convenient and easy to use. One minor drawback is that they may eventually get a bit soggy, but this is only after extended use -- paper straws are still disposable, but they biodegrade more easily.
Paper Ice Cream CupsTraditional ice cream cups are made of plastic, or worse, styrofoam. We've discussed the detrimental effects plastic is having on our ecosystem, but styrofoam is arguably worse. Styrofoam cups and materials break into tiny pieces, which then litter our shores and waterways with microscopic pollutants. These pieces can easily be swallowed by animals and cause them harm. Instead, choose paper ice cream cups, which, like paper straws, are more easily biodegradable and sustainable for the overall environment.
SpoonsFinally, it's important to mention that utensils also impact the environment due to the sheer volume at which they're produced. While plastic seems to be one of the only viable and disposable options, you can find certain types of plastics that are made with some percentage of recycled materials. This helps to cut down on the emissions used to manufacture these supplies.
Ultimately, understanding how to incorporate these sustainable supplies into your next ice cream social is the best way to be environmentally responsible. Dig in (sustainably)!