Community matters to all of us and coming together to celebrate special occasions is an important part of our lives. Although events can result in big carbon footprints, they don’t have to! When you get together with friends and family for holidays, birthdays and other occasions, why not celebrate the environment as well? Here are several ways to help reduce the waste of an event and make any gathering, large or small, less harmful to the environment.
Themes for Going Green What better way to have fun, teach and learn about helping the environment, than to have an eco theme at your next party. Try a “local food potluck” party, a “bring a recyclable to get in” party, or a “come as you are" or "make-your-own (no mass-produced) costume” party!
On the Invitations Reuse paper or find recycled paper for your invitations, or go digital and use evite and invite guests online.
Decorate for Real Why not use the "real" stuff you have instead of paper? Use those pretty cloth napkins you have in your closet, those cool pottery plates you bought, or those glasses you got for your wedding. If you don’t have real items to use, make sure to use eco-friendly decorations made out of recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials. Flowers and potted plants are a great way to decorate. Have your party in a natural setting such as a tree filled garden or park. Use plants you already have around the house. If you don’t have any, buy native plants at a local nursery and after the party plant them outside if possible or give to guests as party favors.
On the Menu Purchase ingredients or dishes from local venues and farmers markets. Tally the number of people coming and make arrangements accordingly to avoid wastage of food.
Forget the Plastic By choosing earth-friendly, biodegradable serving products, you can easily reduce the amount of waste you produce and feel good about holding your event. Avoid the usage of plastic plates, cups and water bottles. Instead, choose from the many eco-friendly options available on the market. Serve drinks from pitchers or dispensers to eliminate the need for disposable plastic bottles and cups.
Light It Up Whenever possible, use natural lighting to save on electricity. If your party is at night, use a fire, eco-friendly candles, or solar-powered landscape lighting. For larger venues, there are many options for ambient LED lighting. Check out one of our favorites at solarone.net.
Gifts and Gift Bags Whether acting as the host or coming as a guest, consider eco friendly gifts made from recycled or natural materials. Even better, as the host, ask for donations to a worthy cause in lieu of a gift or have guests bring an item for charity. When giving out party favors or gift bags, use containers made of recyclable or compostable materials. For gifts, give favors that are useful, eco-friendly items.
Clean Green Prepare to compost and/or recycle before the event. Get the bins organized the night before and create labeled bins for your guests so disposal is easy and convenient. Recycle all the glass and plastic bottles that were used in the party for wine, alcohol and soft drinks. For left over food and scraps, create an easy location for people to compost what’s left on their plates or have guests take home care packages in compostable containers. If you don’t compost personally, find a location that does and drop it off afterwards (findacomposter.com). Keep party decorations and reuse at the next get together. Use green, non-toxic cleaning products.