1. Team up to Prep - Don’t travel alone to the Wine and Spirits Store/Beer Distributor. Most good parties have sizeable reserves of alcohol, and unless you already have a well-stocked liquor cabinet you are going to need to visit your local Wine and Spirits. Try to find a neighbor or friend who is interested in picking up some drinks and hit the road together. Also, consider buying beer that is made in local breweries, such as Yuengling or Victory, as their product does not have nearly as far to travel as the major brewing companies’.
2. Share a Ride – If walking or taking public transportation is not a reasonable option, then avoid driving a big car or an SUV, tell your friends that Philadelphia has plenty of cars to offer just lining the streets. Philly Car Share has a great selection that includes a whole range of vehicles including Hybrids. The best part about Philly Car Share is that they have their own parking spots all over town where only their cars can park. Now you won’t have to spend 20 minutes circling mindlessly to find a spot close to the party. If your friends make it out of the party a little blurry-eyed, driving home will not be an option. Instead of calling information for a cab service, just think ‘3’. (215) 333-3333 will connect you with the Victory Cab Company, so you can thoroughly enjoy the New Year’s Eve Party. Remembering this number or pre-loading a few cab companies number into your phone will save you about $1.50 to call information. This may seem like a small amount, but it’s almost half of the cost of a CFL light bulb. So, put the money to better use in 2009.
3. Eat Well - Buy organic or locally made party snacks. If you’re not sure where to look, check out the GREENandSAVE Green Grocery with a decent selection of snacks, cookies and candy. If e-commerce isn’t your bag given the timing, try to find a local farmer’s market, which is sure to be full of organic, and all-around healthier foods. However, if a Farmer’s Market isn’t an option, make a visit to Trader Joe’s, which is sure to have a great selection of organic, all-natural products that really taste great.
4. Get Raw - Make your own snacks right from the hand of mother earth. The easiest way to make food for your party is to take some celery, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower and asparagus, and chop yourself a ‘Crudité Platter’. To make the it even more eco-friendly prepare and serve it materials that are fast growing an renewable like bamboo. Check out a Bamboo Chopping Set. You can include other vegetables if the basics don’t tickle your fancy, but be sure to match your Crudités with your favorite dipping sauce. By going ‘raw’ with veggie snacks you save the environment, because there is no energy (other than your own) used in the processing or the preparation. Plus, the nutrients are not cooked out of the food, so you save on health all around.
5. Hold it right in your Hand – Use reusable or biodegradable tableware and drink cups. Most party hosts use disposable cups and plates because they are easier to just throw away afterwards than worry about cleaning up. All of those paper plates and the plastic cups and silverware are just a waste and load up the landfill. Think about using bamboo serving plates, or glasses with 100% recycled materials. A little extra time on washing saves money and the planet over the long run. There are also alternatives to plastic forks and knives, as Compostable Flatware is made of potato or cornstarch and will naturally biodegrade upon arrival at the landfill rather than lasting for thousands of years.
6. Go Green in Style - Re-Think the décor by re-configuring and reusing your old decorations or even items that could be converted into decorations. You know there are old decorations somewhere in your basement from last year. Use them in a new way or just make some new ones. Any purchased decorations should also be environmentally friendly, including flowers, plants, streamers, etc.
7. Be Unique - Celebrate your own way. Traditionally, a New Year’s Eve Party might feature some noise-makers and party hats that get used, and in the case of the noise-makers, overused, and are then discarded sometime on January 1st. Instead of buying the cheap conical hats or noise-makers that are most likely made in China and shipped around the world to be used once, tell your friends to bring their own zany hat. For the ‘fun’glasses, you can also mine the local thrift stores and add a little “09” sticker on the lens. To take the noise action to a Re-Newed level, you can also either get a whole bunch of alarm clocks at a thrift store or ask your guests to bring one on loan for the event. Then add a few power strips, set them all for midnight and listen to the symphony that kicks off at midnight.
8. Get with the G-Tunes - Feature Eco Friendly Musicians with ‘Green Tunes’ at your party. Fill the night with the sound of musicians that also support the environment. You may be surprised at the range of different styles and genres, and any one from the growing list of musicians may match your taste. Here is a list of the top musicians who are walking the talk and highlights of a few samples of their eco-support. When you buy their music, you help them help the causes that count.
Dave Matthews Band – The eco-grants distributed by their foundation, BamaWorks, total more than $2 million to date. They help increase awareness and combat global warming through performances at Live Earth, plant trees to offset the carbon emissions of their touring, ‘Think local and Act global’ by distributing bikes around Charlottesville, Virginia to be used as low-impact, free transportation, support education organizations through their Ben & Jerry’s flavor, ‘One Sweet Whirled’ ice cream, and Dave Mathews himself even uses cloth diapers for the newest addition to the family. Dave Matthews Band
Pearl Jam - Grunge Rock: They donate funds, stage benefits, drive in biodiesel busses and more. Pearl Jam
Jane's Addiction - Alternative Rock: Lead singer Perry Farrell has pioneering the work to power Lollapalooza on biodiesel, and they support more eco-initiatives, ‘Global Cool’ and more. Jane’s Addiction
Guster - Folksy Rock: They support the Campus Conscious Tour to bring awareness to everything from chemical-free cosmetics to organic food. Guitarist/singer Adam Garner founded Reverb, the eco-music initiative and more. Guster
Cloud Cult – Indie Rock: Their recording studio is made from reclaimed material, and the nonprofit label ‘Earthology Records’ is on a farm that is powered by geothermal and wind energy. Lead singer Craig Minowa is an environmental scientist for the ‘Organic Consumers Association.’ Cloud Cult
Barenaked Ladies – They are one of the Reverb partners. Lead singer Steven Page has a Board role on World Wildlife Fund Canada. Barenaked Ladies
Moby – He is a vegan, supports the Humane Society and PETA, opened a vegetarian tea café in NYC, limits touring to reduce CO2 impact, and more. Moby
Jack Johnson – He has co-founding eco education programs in schools and communities, produces eco-friendly merchandise, partners with ‘1% for the Planet’ and more. Jack Johnson
Sarah Harmer – She supports eco causes and focuses on preserving Niagara Falls and the Escarpment, and more. Sarah Harmer
KT Tunstall – She supports the Carbon Neutral Company, Carbon Diet, Global Cool, uses a Biodiesel tour bus and more. KT Tunstall
Sheryl Crow – She is a Climate Activist, leader on the Stop Global Warming College Tour and more. Sheryl Crow
Alternative / Punk:
Green Day – They actively support the Natural Resources Defense Council and Move America Beyond Oil and more. Green Day
Thom Yorke – The solo artist and Radiohead front man is a vegan, supports ‘Friends of Earth’ in the fight against global warming and more. Thom Yorke
Willie Nelson – He promotes his own line of biodiesel, fosters "buy local, sell local," supports Farm Aid, makes hemp clothing and more. Willie Nelson
Bonnie Raitt – She helped to found ‘Musicians United for Safe Energy’, fights against nuclear energy, protects ancient forests, initiated the ‘Green Highway’ eco-village and more. Bonnie Raitt
The Roots - For those in the Philadelphia-area, be sure to support The Roots, as the Philadelphia natives are working with PETA on the “Stop the Violence: Go Veg” campaign. They also hosted a Pre-Grammy Jam & Green Carpet Bash this past year, in which they invited other artists to jam with them while raising awareness on green issues. The Roots
Start 2009 with the Eco Breakfast Jumpstart - January 1st can be a rough time if your party is successful. When you wake that morning, you might want to get some food into you, but know that many foods could cause some added…discomfort. So instead of just any New Year’s Day breakfast, ramp it up slowly and start the year free of artificial...anything. Perhaps you could dig in with an organic Goji Moji Pure Fruit and Nut Bar. These bars are made with real fruits, nuts, and other natural ingredients, and are made with no added sugars or anything artificial. And even if those Goji Moji bars don’t help revitalize your ‘mojo’, caffeine will be a must. Take the eco-route and check out some Organic Coffee and Tea. Then sit back and assess the situation and draft a few resolutions.
Hopefully these tips will lead to a great New Year’s Eve Party, and a springboard for a greener New Year. If there isn’t too much damage to your home or apartment from your New Year’s Party, take a look at GREENandSAVE’s resource on green Home Remodeling to save money and the environment in ’09.