With Earth Day this week I was thinking about my own carbon footprint and ways I could reduce it. I am constantly planning parties and making decorations. I try to use materials that will last and make decorations that can be used repeatedly. I am always working on ways to make parties more Earth friendly. I recycle as much as possible and hold on to any extra scrap of paper or tiny piece of ribbon. For any party there is a lot that goes into it and yes usually a lot of trash. I still try to implement the old saying we learned in elementary school reduce, reuse and recycle! See I still remember a few things from school ;). Some of this might be no brainers but it is good to consider the environmental impact of your event and do what you can to make the Earth happy! Here are 10 ways to make your party more Earth friendly:
1. Invitations: I personally do not like sending out invitations. I am a procrastinator by nature and getting them out on time is nearly impossible! Online invitations are a great way to reduce waste.There are so many options online from Evite and beyond. This way you don’t waste paper. You can still customize and find invitations for any theme imaginable. Look at Etsy for some beautiful digital invitations. I find that most people respond quicker to email and then you can send one reminder for those who haven’t responded. It is a time saver when you don’t have to individually call everyone on the list and track them down for their RSVP.
2. Decorations: I’m a huge fan of party decorations and I don’t like to skip them. However, you don’t have to over do it. Look into local business that make party decorations. You can find quality products made in your own state that aren’t being shipped from China. Plus you get more unique items. There are decorations that are made from burlap and materials you can reuse for other occasions. For kids parties try to incorporate toys they already have in the decorations. For example my daughter wants to do Frozen, I know shocker! I will be using her frozen dolls, crowns and even hang up her dresses for a backdrop. Always look at what you have first. If you are having a party at a venue choose a venue with personality where you won’t need a lot of decorations. Outdoor settings and gardens make for a beautiful backdrop.
3. Centerpieces: Skip the plastic containers for centerpieces. Use vases or bowls you already have. Using old wine bottles can create a beautiful look. For a kids party pails or buckets that you can use over and over again are perfect. Potted plants are great centerpieces that people can take with or you can build a beautiful garden with after the party. I love fresh flowers but I don’t want to be wasteful with them. A few flowers can go a long way just have them in different shaped vases or spread out. A little goes a long way.
4. DIshes: Try to skip all of the paper plates and plastic utensils. I know it is tempting to use these. Use plates and glasses you already have or borrow from friends for small parties. For a larger party you can rent glasses and plates. It makes for a more elegant look and is less wasteful. If you are going the plastic route use a thick plastic that can be reused. If you are doing paper plates there are plates made of recycled materials.
5. Drinks: Serve drinks in large punch bowls, pitchers or carafes. Avoid cans and plastic bottles. If you are going to have them make sure to have a cute recycling bin easily accessible(I know you can make recycling look cute!). People are much more likely to recycle if it is right in front of their face.
6. Food: If you are choosing a caterer try to go with someone who uses lots of locally grown fresh ingredients. Luckily the farm to table idea is popular right now. Food with fresh vegetables always looks so pretty and yummy, doesn’t it?! If you are unlike me and you can cook that is always great for parties plus you save money! If you are cooking try to make things with fresh ingredients. Have a plan for the leftover food. There is always extra food at parties and it makes me sad when it is wasted. I just love food so much I hate to see it wasted. Whether you are donating the extras or have to go containers(preferably not styrofoam).
7. Desserts: If you are serving candy don’t buy things that are individually wrapped. Buy bulk candy and serve it in glass dishes or jars. Fresh fruit always looks pretty on a dessert table with some kind of dip. I have found some amazing desserts cookies, cupcakes etc. at local farmers markets. They are great places to go and test out what you like before a party. Most of them are small businesses that use more natural ingredients than you will find at the grocery store.
8. Balloons and confetti: Yes, I must confess I do love balloons and confetti! I would say in moderation. You can still use both of these things and be Earth friendly! There are biodegradable balloons and confetti. I would search around on the internet for the best prices. Yes, these can be more expensive than the other kinds but there are some good deals out there. There is also confetti that has seeds in it, how cool is that?!
9. Party Favors: I love having favors that can also be used as a centerpiece or for decor. These fun fairy wands are a great example of that. Found in my Etsy shop ;). Seed packets and a small flower pot are also a great Earth friendly option. If you don’t have to individually wrap things that is great too, maybe just a small paper tag.
10. Gifts: We have a small place and we literally don’t have room for too many toys. It’s a balance between getting gifts but not getting too many because we would have to get rid of other things just to fit new toys. One way to handle this is to just have family give gifts. A great trend right now is using birthday parties for fundraisers. If your kid doesn’t need more stuff people can have the option of making a donation to a cause that it is important to your family. Of course make donating completely optional. This way you don’t have a bunch of toys your kid doesn’t need and they are learning to give back. It is also fine if you want all the presents too :).
There are so many creative ways to make parties more green and earth friendly!
Thanks for partying with me! -Val Event Gal