Celebrations are what make life worth living. Whether it is a wedding for the loving couple, a baby shower for the mama to be, or the birthday party for the special boy or girl who is growing up so fast, we love to get together and celebrate all of life’s great moments.
We also love to go green. These days we are more environmentally conscious then we ever were before as it has become hip to help Mother Earth. To that end, many people are even throwing eco-friendly celebrations, which are a great way to have fun while also setting a responsible example for our friends and family. Check out the five tips below for sustainable celebrations of all types.
1. Avoid Paper Waste
When throwing any kind of party, a lot of paper is often ultimately wasted. It starts at the beginning with the invitations. Whether you are hosting a wedding or a kids party, skip the paper invitations and opt for electronic invites and send them out over email. While you’re at it, add on to the invites that this is an eco-friendly event!
Another easy way to reduce waste during your celebration is to avoid wrapping paper. After all, it usually gets ripped to shreds anyway and is quickly thrown away. Instead, encourage everyone to use gift bags and skip the tissue paper. Once the gifts are opened, return the bags to their owner so they can reuse them for the next event.
2. Smart Drink Choices
As you are designing your green celebration, stay smart about your drink choices. In many cases, going eco-friendly and saving money can go hand in hand, and this is one of those areas.
The easiest way to keep clean and save money is to invite guests to bring their own beverages and let them know that they can bring home what they don’t drink. That way you avoid having leftover cardboard six-pack containers, and since they bought it themselves, the guests will be less likely to leave half-empty bottles and cans laying around. Depending on the elegance of your event, you could also buy a large keg of beer or wine and hand out reusable cups, which will drastically reduce paper and plastic waste.
No matter how well you plan to have a waste-free party, there will always be garbage that needs to be thrown out. Make the process cleaner by setting up recycling stations for plastic, paper, and biodegradable trash.
3. Smart Food Choices
Now that you have the drinks figured out, you want to focus on the food and how you can eliminate the most waste. A fun and tasty idea is to go with finger foods like meatballs or cheesecake bites that guests can carry on napkins in their hands. This trick can go a long way to preventing the waste of paper plates and plastic utensils, and you can provide toothpicks to those who don’t want to get their hands dirty.
No matter how delicious the food may be, there is always going to be leftovers, so have a plan in place. Either tell the guests that they can take home what isn’t finished so they can eat it as leftovers on their own time, or plan how you can turn left overs into an interesting dinner dish the next day..
4. Clean Decorations
In many cases, the decorations used at parties, including streamers, banners, and confetti, are often thrown away and are rarely reused. Instead of using the typical decorations, go green! If you are having a wedding or surprise party, consider using biodegradable confetti that dissolves when wet and is non-toxic to birds and other animals.
Also, instead of wasting money on plastic banners that you will throw out, consider spending a few extra bucks for a personalized banner made of burlap or recycled paper that you can use repeatedly. In general, you should avoid balloons as they leave a lot of unwanted waste and are toxic to animals.
You could even avoid the decorations all-together with a more intimate event. For instance, how about instead of a huge baby shower, you have a “baby sprinkle” that is smaller and more personal at a favorite restaurant where you can still exchange gifts and have a great time.
5. Think About the Kids
When it comes to the kids, you want to make their special day is as memorable as possible, but a lot of our old traditions are not so eco-friendly. Changing it up a bit is not only exciting, but it will teach them the importance of being green. As an example, goody bags are often filled with small plastic toys and sticker sheets that are usually thrown out soon after the event. Instead, try a cloth bag filled with environmentally friendly party favors like plant seeds, soap formed in fun custom shapes, and a metal drink straw that they can use over and over.
You may not realize it, but common children’s party games like the pinata and “pin the tail on the donkey” can create a lot of waste in the form of excess paper and plastic. So, think about some equally fun green games:
Create a nature-based scavenger hunt.
Give them chalk and have an art contest.
Have a dress-up party like pirates or princesses and have them go wild in the backyard.
There is nothing more exciting then a celebration with your treasured family and friends, and if you can save the Earth in the process, then you are really doing something great. Heed these eco-friendly tips for enjoyable and responsible fun.