Hosting an eco-friendly event is all about replacing single-use items with reusable alternatives.
Let’s consider all of the different categories of an event and I will provide simple tips for how to make each more sustainable while still providing a memorable experience for your guests!
Paper invitations use unnecessary resources including the trees needed for the paper and envelopes, as well as the gas used to deliver them.
Save the trees and send digital invitations instead! I like creating a cute digital graphic and sending it to my guests by email or text. This makes it easy for guests to respond and to collect RSVP’s right away.
If you are hosting a slightly larger event where you may not know all of your attendees personally, consider using a digital ticketing platform.
You can then ask guests to use their phones to pull up those tickets rather than print them to save that paper as well.
Instead of buying disposable decorations, try and use what you already have or choose pieces that you will be able to reuse for many different occasions.
Some of my favorite reusable decorations include fabric banners and paper lanterns. They are great replacements for paper streamers and balloons and can last for numerous events.
Please do try and avoid balloons as they often end up in the ocean or in nature leading to environmental problems, including being mistakenly eaten by animals which can be fatal.
Changing the lighting of your space is an easy way to completely change the mood of your venue. Invest in colored LED lightbulbs or fairy lights to have an easy decoration that will last a long time.
And of course, music can also go a long way in setting the mood of your party and is naturally waste-free.
As much as possible, try and avoid using single-use dishes, cutlery, and cups at your event. The easiest way to do this is by using the dishes that you already have in your home.
If you do not have enough dishes, you can often find very cheap options at the thrift store or ask your guests to bring their own mugs or plates. Making your event BYOM or BYOP (bring your own mug/plate) is a fun way to have guests involved in creating the atmosphere of the party!
If you do not want to ask guests to bring dishes, you can also look into getting biodegradable or compostable paper or wood plates, cups, and cutlery.
Foods that are easy to find package-free or in large quantities are perfect for serving at a sustainable party!
Some ideas include –
- Homemade or takeout pizza, as it typically comes plastic-free in a paper box.
- Popcorn, as you can buy the kernels in bulk or in a large container from the grocery store and pop them on the stove.
- You could even have different flavors and make it a popcorn tasting party!
- Fresh veggies and homemade hummus, you can use whatever veggies that you can find package-free at the grocery store. Carrots, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, and peppers are always great crowd-pleasers!
- Homemade cookies, who doesn’t love a cookie?
- Instead of serving cake that needs plates and forks to enjoy, try making homemade cupcakes. You can either skip the wrapper and just use oil or butter in the pan or you can bake with reusable silicone muffin liners.
All of the foods listed above do not need dishes or cutlery to enjoy, so that would make your life as a host easier.
At the start of the party, make it clear to guests what the options for recycling and trash are. Make sure that you have a recycling bin clearly marked and easily accessible.
If your guests can’t find the recycling bin, they will likely just throw things in the trash. If you are collecting compost, tell them what to do with the food scraps.
Events are all about connecting to the people around you, so don’t get too stressed or overwhelmed trying to avoid waste.
Celebrate any trash that you do avoid creating and share with your guests what you have done to make your event more eco-friendly.
Sharing your enthusiasm for the earth is one of the easiest ways to get others inspired to adopt positive changes in their lives as well. Any trash that you avoid is a huge win for the planet!
This post originally appeared as a part of the #SEAthechange month by Sea Straws Co. To view it there, visit bit.ly/seathechangeeventfullyeco