Every day I become more aware of the choices I make and my environmental impact. I’ve been able to change many of my daily routines to embrace a greener lifestyle. I found myself wondering, how can I make changes on less frequent occasions, like holidays and parties?
First, let me say that I love hosting a party. I love a good theme and all the choices that go with hosting. What music do I play? What decorations should I get? What food should we have? This fall my husband and I threw a party to celebrate the last day of summer, with an “End of Summer Blues” theme where almost everything was you guessed it-blue. While planning for the party I tried making choices that were both sustainable and cost effective. Here are some steps I tried and some tips I would use next time I host a party!
Snacks: Buy local, Fair Trade, or Equal Exchange.
For our party we we bought blue tortilla chips (to keep with the theme) from Garden of Eatin’, a brand that uses organic ingredients, green packaging, and sustainably sourced ingredients. There are lots of great organic, non-GMO products at Whole Foods, and an assortment of fair trade and Equal Exchange snacks at The World Market. I also recommend going to a farmers market to buy local produce and snacks. Having an ice cream party? Ben and Jerry’s was the first ice cream maker in the world to use Fair-trade certified ingredients! Check out this list of where to buy Fair-trade sweets and snacks.
Servingware: Buy recyclable or biodegradable (or use what you have)
No one says you HAVE to buy serving ware for parties. You could simply use what you have. However, if you’re having a big party it can be an inconvenience to wash so many dishes. For our Blues Party we used recycylable cups and plates, along with cute striped biodegradable straws! (All found on Amazon). If you’re sticking to finger food cutlery isn’t an issue, but if you’re looking for a sustainable alternative to plastic cutlery bamboo is a great option! You can find bamboo cutlery and other alternatives at Whole Foods and at some Target locations. Some companies you can search for online that offer great sustainable party products are SOLAS, Susty Party, WoodABLE, Green Party Goods, Little Footprint, and Eco Buddies.
Decorations: Try DIY projects, buy biodegradable, or decorations you can re-use
For our Blues party I bought recyclable paper decorations that can easily be reused for a baby shower or other occasion. We bought blue hydrangeas from a local nursery which looked adorable in a Fair-trade vase from The Little Market atop a reusable tablecloth. For paper decoration alternatives you can find rice paper lanterns and garlands on Amazon. You can also find biodegradable confetti! In fact, just search “biodegradable party supplies” and there’s an amazing assortment, including natural beeswax candles for your next birthday party! The internet is also full of great ideas for DIY decorations you can make yourself.
But what about a party outfit?
Of course the most sustainable choice would be to wear what you already have, but if you’re like me you love to wear a new outfit when you host a party. In a pinch I was able to order a used blue jumpsuit from the Poshmark app for a fraction of the original price. Paired that with some TOMS heels and boom. Done. Buying used clothing is one of the best ways to deal with textile waste.
This is just a small list of steps you can take to make your next party more sustainable. Have any other tips for me? I’d love to hear from you!