This guest post is by Felicia Baratz-Savage of Eat Breathe Blog
Parties can be a lot of fun, whether you’re hosting friends or family, but they can also be more wasteful than you realize. Decorations are temporary, food that has been sitting out needs to be thrown away, tableware might not be recyclable and homeowners have to deal with increased utility costs from using more air conditioning and electricity. Next time you’re planning a party, make it a little greener by using some of these creative eco-friendly strategies.
Image courtesy of Julie Montgomery Conserve gas and electricity
Power usage is a big part of your environmental footprint when you’re preparing for and hosting a party. Make a comprehensive list of everything you need to buy and do your best to get everything during one trip so you don’t waste gas running out multiple times.
Keep an eye on what major electronics you use during the party and try to only have one or two things on at a time. Many home theater speakers nowadays are energy efficient and can shut down automatically when not in use. Background music at a party can be great but you might as well save yourself a little money if the stereo gets turned down so people can talk.
Cook the food for your party as energy efficiently as possible, perhaps by cooking or baking everything at the same time. Save yourself and your utility bills from turning on the oven – and running the air conditioner extra to compensate – on multiple occasions.
Deck out in green
Most traditional party decorations, such as crepe paper, balloons and confetti, get thrown away after you use them and create a ton of waste. When it comes time to host a graduation, birthday or retirement party, try decorating with reusable decorations like Chinese lanterns, a colorful cloth tablecloth or banner flags that you can purchase or make during a crafting session. You can really get inventive with your decorations, especially if you have friends or kids who love to be creative. Your local fabric store has plenty of designs to choose from, most of which can be bought for just a few dollars per yard. You might also consider holding your party outside, where the natural beauty of the outdoors can be a great substitute for store-bought decorations.
Plan your table
The best option for tableware at a party is to take out your usual casual dining set. Although it creates some dishes, you can usually find someone who is willing to help you clean up after the party. You can foster conversation as one person washes, the other dries and you’ll save the environment from throwing away a load of plasticware that will just clog up a landfill. If you have to buy tableware, check your local dollar store for affordable fork, knife and spoon options that generally come bundled together in sets of four.
You can also use biodegradable options, like corn-based forks and knives, and thick paper plates instead of plastic. The compostable utensils can be purchased from eco-friendly companies, many of which are easily found online. Paper plates are readily available at local retailers, including grocery stores.
Eliminate the packaging that comes with processed foods and opt for fresh, local food for your party. You’ll save yourself a load of trash and recycling and can even sample new culinary treats if you make your party into a pitch-in.
Going green for your party doesn’t mean you’ll spend weeks planning your event or that your guests will be bored. By paying attention to greener choices in each aspect of the party, you’ll help protect the environment while also entertaining your friends and family. Even if you only throw a couple parties a year, your decisions can have a significant, positive impact on the environment.
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