The fall brings with it many opportunities to entertain at home–football parties, Halloween parties, Thanksgiving gatherings and all kinds of Christmas entertaining. With all this party-giving that you might do, this is the time to think about how you can make your party a green one!
Everyone says that they care about saving the environment, but they don’t always try to do the easy things that help cut down on excess waste.
When you’re hosting a party, the excitement is often about the guest list, invitations and the menu, but what about the amount of trash that comes out of such a gathering with family and friends? Here are some eco-friendly party planning ideas, that allow you to increase your fun, while decreasing your waste.
Here are a few pointers for keeping waste to a minimum at your parties:
- Send email invitations, which come in all styles for all occasions. Save yourself the postage and paper, while still sending an attractive “green” invitation.
- Avoid buying items for entertaining if you don’t need them often–borrow tables, linens, glassware, dinnerware, serveware and linens from family and friends if you can.
- Think about future dinners or gatherings when designing your party menu. Serve items that will freeze well. If you have leftovers, store them in reusable glass containers–this will reduce plastic wrap and food waste and give you a head start on dinner the following week.
- Try to buy food items that do not come in excess plastic wrapping.
- Get a large glass drink dispenser or two in which you can mix and serve your party beverages. Try to avoid buying individual bottles or cans.
- If you entertain frequently, invest in the real stuff: china, flatware, glassware and napkins. Accumulate it slowly by shopping at thrift stores and the sales at your favorite stores. Select a solid color and stick to that color to .build a collection you can use year round. For example, red is great for everything from Christmas to Valentine’s Day to July 4. Think of how much paper waste you have saved by not using disposables.
- Try to use reusable decorations that you might have already have in your home–pretty vases, candlesticks, baskets–instead of paper decorations. Use greenery and flowers from your yard. Make decorations out of recyclables like vases or luminaries out of clean soup cans, or games out of covered boxes.
- Create sorting stations with proper receptacles–trash, recycling and compost-to make sorting waste easy. Then make bright and noticeable signs so guests know where things go. Use colored chalk on chalkboards, have your kids draw colorful pictures of the recycling symbol, paint signs on recycled wood, or take photographs of your children holding letters that read “recycle.” Enlarge the photos, place them in frames, and hang them above the recycling bin station.
If you are giving gifts at your party, try to encourage your guests to wrap them in recyclable kraft paper or newspaper or fabric wraps.You don’t have to sacrifice style and individuality when introducing eco-friendly elements that promote the three R’s– reduce, reuse and recycle– into your plans. From large weddings to intimate dinner parties, you can make small changes that will make a big difference to reduce your waste. Your efforts might even inspire your family and friends to try hosting green parties themselves.