New trend: BYOP parties


Claudia Hernandez, Photo Editor

Normally, on party invitations you see “BYOB,” which means Bring Your Own Beverage. When I posted online that the party I was planning was a “BYOP” (Bring Your Own Plate) party, people got confused.

My family hosts a barbeque every other Sunday, and it was all fun and games until I was the last one there and had to help clean up. For the 20 people that were invited, every Sunday there would be a total of three big trash bags filled with plastic cups, plastic plates, napkins, foam coffee cups, chip bags, plastic silverware and food leftovers. At first, I thought that throwing the trash where it belonged was the right thing to do. I didn’t know where that trash was going to end up, or if it would be disposed properly. I guess the older I get, the more conscious I become. And it is something good, because I am aware of the issues, but my mind suffers because I realize how bad my habits have always been.

I started a fun dynamic for my family parties. I told them that it was a BYOP party, but everybody ended up confused. Explaining to my uncles that I was trying to make the party a little bit eco-friendlier was a  joke to them. For weeks, nobody would listen to me. They would laugh at my initiative and make jokes about it. But I didn’t give up and eventually they started listening to me. Some would stop attending. Some would eat without any plates so they would not have to wash the dishes, and some would bring their own plates. I was so proud of myself because our waste reduced from three big trash bags to barely one. It was a little bit more work but it’s worth it.

Since it worked, I decided to plan parties where people would bring reusable cups to serve their drinks and because we are all millennials, it wasn’t hard at all. Now our parties are plastic-free and it turns out it’s cheaper that way. This means less trash, less money and more fun. I know it is a small step, but change starts with a little effort. Changing to a plastic-free home is so satisfying. The cleaning is easier as long as everybody does their part and washes their dishes.

I have also been trying to have more eco-friendly habits. I have changed my diet and I have even been composting in my backyard for about a year now. However, bad habits die hard. El Paso isn’t the easiest city to be eco-friendly. The weather forces you to have air conditioning or heaters, and sometimes the public transportation isn’t reliable. But it has improved in so many ways. There are a lot of sustainable and vegan restaurants. Many of them are starting to leave plastic behind. Some restaurants are even using biodegradable utensils. It gives me hope that change is happening and not only in my house.