You can carry over your eco-friendly living ideas into any type of party — from lavish holiday dinners to children’s birthday parties. With just a little planning, you can find green solutions to almost any party need. Here are a few tips to help you get started planning your next big event.
Don’t use Throwaways
Throwaway plates and cups make clean up easier, but are hard on the environment. If you must use throwaways, choose paper over Styrofoam, and look for ones that are made from recycled materials and are BPA-free.
Better yet, buy reusable plates and platters that you only use for these special occasions. There is even compostable bamboo dishes for parties. Use it over and over again, and then when you can use it no more, you can throw it in your own compost pile and make use of it in your yard and garden. With the help of friends and family, dishes can be washed quickly.
It can be more difficult with utensils if you don’t have enough of your everyday silverware for a party. Look for spoons, forks and knives made from recycled materials, and then when the party’s over wash them and put them away for the next party instead of pitching them. Choosing utensils made of wood, bamboo, corn or even potatoes will make a great conversation starters, and help you spread the word about the positive methods for conservation.
Choose Party Food With Care
Choose local and organic foods for your party. EatWild.com and LocalHarvest.org are great resources for finding local food. Make a vegetable shish kabob: skewer layers of cut up organic fruits and vegetables: chill and serve. Or grill up some grass-fed beef. For a beverage, pour out generous glasses of organic cider, or beer from a local brewery.
Avoid buffets, as they are big food wasters. Everyone takes too much, and throws more away than they eat. Host a sit down party and serve individual meals.
Replace the Paper Deco
Make your centerpieces out of cut flowers from your yard or use potted plants. Instead of paper place cards, seat your guests personally. Sending out formal invitations? Go global and send email invites instead of paper. If you just can’t imagine a formal party without paper invitations, use recycled paper like these from Twisted Limb Paperworks.
Substitute balloons and streamers with reusable lanterns lit with candles. Instead of paper banners, create colorful banners with cloth or felt, and save it for the next party too.
Tons of paper is wasted every year on gift packaging. Let your guests know you appreciate their eco-friendly efforts and prefer unwrapped gifts, or gifts wrapped in newspaper. Offer a prize for the most unconventionally wrapped gift. Better yet, tell your guests to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.
Everyone from young to old can enjoy eco-friendly games to liven up your parties. Choose simple craft games that use biodegradable materials and will be useful afterwards such as making treats for the birds. Roll balls of peanut butter around a string of natural hemp and chill for an hour (or longer). Have kids roll the peanut butter balls in birdseed. Then tie a loop in the yarn sticking out of the balls and hang them from trees and bushes in the yard for the neighborhood birds. Use a string of hemp and create pretty party favors using shells and natural wood beads. You can even make the bracelets as part of the party games so the kids can all make their own.
Saying Thank You
Keep your eco-friendly theme by sending your thank you notes via email instead of paper. When you prefer to write out a personal note and send it by mail, make sure it’s recycled stationary or cards.