Green Gatherings: How to Throw an Earth-Friendly Party
Somehow, it seems when it comes time to celebrate, we lose our environmental consciousness and do all kinds of thing we would never even consider in our every day lives. Disposable plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, decorations…it's a veritable environmental nightmare! But it doesn't have to be. There are lots of fun ways to throw a party without throwing away - well, everything.
Cut down on wasted paper from the start by choosing an online invitation rather than paper. Sites like evite.com even allow you to track your RSVPs to keep you organized. Or, you can download software such as Smilebox to make custom invitations using your own photos, and music too. You'll save money too, online invitations are free and don't require stamps!
If you are having a gathering that allows it, use your regular tableware and enlist help to clean up afterwards. Washing up might take longer, but you will prevent a pile of paper plates from winding up in landfills! Party rental stores will rent what you need if you don't have enough on hand. In some cases, it might not be possible to use glass and silverware. In that case, choose recyclable options and encourage your guests to use designated recycling bins when they are finished. Choose a lot of finger foods that don't require much in the way of cutlery to reduce waste further. Have every guest write their name on their cup when they arrive - kids can also decorate with stickers and markers. Not only will this prevent people from using more and more cups as they lose the original, but you might find those kids want to keep their pretty new cup!
Your decorations can be green too! Skip the paper streamers and balloons and go for a more natural look. Potted plants and flowers are beautiful and colourful. For a children's party, try those same fun to make popcorn garlands that kids love to hang on Christmas trees! They are biodegradable, cheap and a great replacement for streamers. Make reusable decorations - paint a Happy Birthday sign that you can use every year, adding onto it with personal messages that will one day be a beautiful keepsake of your child's years. For holiday parties, evergreen boughs, holly and ivy, and pinecones are natural and beautiful festive decorations.
Looking for party favours? Small potted herbs are a great choice for adults, who can take them home and let them grow! Fresh baked goodies are always appreciated, and you can throw in the recipe too. For kids, skip the plastic baggie filled with cheap toys, and try something more fun and longer lasting too! Have them do a craft at the party - it will be a fun activity as well as a great keepsake to take home. Edible treats are great for kids too, try making your own candies.
Got gifts to wrap? Use recycled wrapping paper, or reusable gift bags. Or try wrapping them in something different, such as the colourful funny pages from the newspaper, or brown paper shopping bags you can decorate by hand with personal messages and images. It's also a great use for leftover scraps of fabric if you sew - and remnants of ribbon or yarn make pretty ribbons!
It's easier than you would think to throw a green party; it takes just a little time, effort and thoughtful planning. With these tips you can enjoy party day without giving up on being green!