12 Ways to Make Your Party Green
Planning a party? Show off your eco-skills with our top 12 tips. Your guests will be buzzing about the good times and your creative, earth-friendly flair!
1) Go the electronic route. For informal events, save paper and use e-cards. The Web has tons of resources for creating fun, animated and personalized invitations.
2) Choose recycled (and recyclable) paper. For formal events, look for the term “post-consumer recycled paper.” To go full circle, make sure your invitation can be recycled. Skip non-paper elements like bows and foil etching, and avoid dark-colored papers and envelopes with dye that goes all the way through the paper. (If you tear a piece and it’s white in the middle, it’s recyclable.)
3) Use seeded paper. Invites embedded with flower seeds are all the rage right now. Be sure to let your guests know they’re plantable (not recyclable), so the would-be flower sprouts can grow up to their full potential.
4) Use nature as your backdrop. Host your party in a park, where the natural beauty can provide the atmosphere and decoration. For sustainable centerpieces, try potted plants, pine cones, dried flowers and seasonal items like different colored pumpkins and squash.
5) Use what you have. Find objects around the house or reuse decorations from past parties. Use an old sheet rather than buying a plastic tablecloth.
6) Skip the balloons. Latex and Mylar® balloons can’t be recycled. Instead, try brightly colored Chinese lanterns that can be reused or given away as party favors. Search online for “how to make Chinese lanterns” to learn how to make your own. If your guests show up with Mylar® balloons, save and refill them for future parties.
Food and Drinks
7) Use reusable tableware. Avoiding disposables is an easy way to dramatically cut down on waste. For bigger parties, check with local party planning businesses for reusables you can rent. If reusables just won’t work, try compostables and be sure to compost them after your event. Landfilling compostables creates potent greenhouse gases and is NOT Zero Waste! Live outside of Boulder County? See www.bpiworld.org for trustworthy brands of compostable products, and visit www.findacomposter.com to find a commercial composter near you.
8) Provide drinks in bulk and skip the single-serve bottled drinks. Use pitchers and cups instead, or buy your drinks in bulk and recycle the bottles when you’re finished.
9) Share leftovers. Instead of dumping any extra food, send your guests home with leftovers in reusable containers, and compost all your food scraps.
10) Go for a nature scavenger hunt. Create a list of things to find for a fun, interactive activity.
11) Ditch the balloon release. The pieces fall back to earth as trash and can harm animals that mistake them for food. Instead, try a fun, eco-friendly alternative like releasing petals down a stream or releasing ladybugs or butterflies. Check out www.thebutterflysite.com or www.cylinebiotic.com for more info.
12) Plant something. Provide materials for guests to plant flowers or vegetables. Guests can take their plants home as party favors.