As a host or hostess, we know that “going green” might not be the first item on your to-do list. You’re likely more focused on keeping the energy up, the food hot, and the dance floor full. That’s why we’re here to offer eco-friendly party tips for your next event that are as easy to implement as they are legitimately helpful.
Make your intentions clear.
The fact that your party is “green” shouldn’t be a secret. After all, why not take some pride in your efforts? We advise letting your guests know that you’re hosting an eco-friendly bash. It’ll encourage them to practice green habits while celebrating, and – who knows? – it might even inspire them to host their own parties the same way.
Turn off the lights.
Just think of it as mood lighting: Keep energy usage to a minimum by simply turning off the lights. For evening events, a few candles here and there will take care of any minor visibility problems. Anticipating a full-blown solar eclipse? We still think you can make it work – just use eco-friendly lightbulbs instead of traditional incandescents. Though the planet itself can’t thank you directly (well, at least not immediately), your wallet surely will.
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Of course, digital invites are the easiest way to avoid wasting paper. Check out the beautiful options at curated designer e-vite sites like Paperless Post, or simply create a Facebook event or email thread for a more casual affair. For the smallest gatherings, even a group text will do. If your event is more formal and you feel it’s necessary to go the paper route, use recycled, unbleached paper and vegetable-based ink.
Keep costs down by knowing exactly how many people you need to feed. You can still be the world’s greatest host without offering thirds, fourths, and fifths. Sure, you don’t want your guests to go home hungry. But be strategic about it: Make sure guests know exactly how much grub there is (say, by strategically arranging platters or placing all food items in one area), and they’re bound to think twice before piling their plates too high.
Loud, proud signage distinguishing recycling from trash receptacles is a must. Equally helpful are colored drink stirrers that will aid each attendee in keeping track of his or her glassware and stop them from reaching for a new glass on every pour. As it happens, eco-practices don’t just help the environment; they can also prove quite useful when it comes to cleanup as well.
Consider finger foods.
With no plates or utensils in sight, finger foods will help to keep the waste (and costs) down right from the get-go. They’ll also encourage your guests to eat one item at a time, which means there’ll be less unfortunate overloading and subsequent waste. And in the rare case that fingers do prove ineffective (think: cocktail meatballs), we think a few toothpicks will still be acceptable by Mother Nature’s standards. Check out our best finger food recipes here.
Keep it fresh.
Shopping at the farmers’ market may not be one of the most visible green choices you can make, but it’s certainly the most important. Beyond the fact that you’ll probably come away with more interesting-looking varieties of fruits and vegetables than you would at a chain supermarket, you should note that smaller, local farms make efforts to effectively protect soil, air, and water resources. They also lower distribution costs and waste and promote genetic variation, biodiversity, and soil fertility. How’s that for a conversation starter? Find a farmers’ market near you at localharvest.org.