Spring is upon us, so this means we will soon be inviting our friends and family over for BBQs, bonfires, pool parties and other outdoor get-togethers. Unfortunately this can usually lead to a heavier usage of disposable plates, napkins, table clothes, glassware and flatware. Along with those items, we will usually purchase some decor as well in the form of balloons, streamers, pin the tail on something or other and some funky sign to showcase the purpose of the party. Almost all of these items are disposable, not recyclable and not made from recycled goods, so I want to give you the tips and tricks to be a bit more sustainable and eco-friendly while you party the warm weather away.
Invitations, Save the Dates and Thank You Cards
I hate mail. It's unnecessary.
Anything that I get in the
mail that was printed on a piece of paper is something that I could have received via email or text. You can prevent waste by sending your correspondence out in digital form versus the paper products that we so often open, look at and throw away. Plus, how many times have you had to text your friend since you lost the invitation and forgot the time or address? This is solved by sending an e-vite.
Paper Plates Be Gone!
You have a couple of options when it comes to the plates, glassware, flatware and linens. One of those options is to rent these items from a local vendor. Depending on the size of your party and the color choices, it could be very similar in cost. Another option is to purchase basic white plates from IKEA, glassware and flatware from the dollar store and linens online through amazon. Keep these items in storage for when you are going to have a party. I have also gone to thrift stores to find really fun and funky pieces. This will take you more time, but if you love to thrift like I do, this can be really fun to see what you can pull together.
The last option is to purchase the items in a biodegradable/compostable version. You need to know though that you cannot just throw these into the garbage. You must compost them, so unless you have access to or have your own compost this option will not work for you. Click here to see if your city has a compost pick up service!
Make My Party Pretty
To cut back on electricity, use solar powered lights or candles. Check rummage sales and Craigslist for lawn furniture. You can get some beautiful pieces for free if you are lucky; otherwise at a fraction of the cost. Pick flowers (not from private property!) for your centerpieces and reuse glass jars from your recycling at the vases. Use your houseplants as additional decor, or purchase some great fruits and veggies from your local farmer's market and use those for decor. Then, you can let your guests take the produce home as an added element. Just remember to skip the plastic bags
If you must use traditional decorations, you can find biodegradable balloons, create fabric banners/streamers and make some great lawn games upcycling different items. Pinterest has so many great ideas.
Location. Location. Location.
Not everyone of us has a
beautiful backyard to throw a summer bash at, so we may set up in a park, beach or some other outdoor space. Leave every place better than you found it. Clean up your mess (recycle what you can!) and leave nothing behind. Remember we share these spaces with other people and creatures.