“How to make the environment your guest of honour”
It’s all well and good to be earth-conscious in our daily routines, but have you ever considered how far you steer from your green-living habits when it comes to festive occasions? There is a humdrum stigma attached to eco-friendly habits; a belief that you can’t host an elegant, enjoyable event without throwing caution to the wind when it comes to creating waste. Luckily this is not the truth.
Be chic, think green
Attaching a theme to your party has always been the best way to ensure your guests arrive in high spirits. Their planning and anticipation ads to the experience and creates a buzz around your event. Consider making your next party a tribute to eco-friendly style.
Consistently green party planning
Environmentally friendly thinking must carry through every aspect of your event. Although beautifully handwritten invitations are the epitome of sophistication, a digital invitation requires no paper. If your party is on the informal side, an invitation via Facebook or email will do. If you prefer something more proper, have a look at Evite for more options.
Make your eco-friendly intentions clear to guests, and encourage them to think green when commuting to your home. Include links to public transport options in your invitation, or suggesting carpooling. Guests who live nearby can consider cycling.
In the same spirit, do away with any disposable materials for your table. Serviettes and place setting should be re-usable, and don’t even consider plastic cups or paper plates. The whole point is not to be an over consumer. If you have a shortage of crockery, glasses or linen, borrow from a friend. Don’t stress about miss-matched place settings, just make your whole table shabby chic, and bring in as much colour as possible. Switch of energy guzzling lights and create a beautiful atmosphere with sustainable beeswax or soy candles.
Taste the difference
When it comes to the cuisine, avoid waste by considering portion sizes and only buying what you need. Plan your menu carefully, and choose food recipes with little baking time and ingredients that are grown locally. You can look into eco-friendly cooking and cocktails online. Serving lots of raw fruit and vegetables is good for your guests and the earth, but be mindful to buy organically grown, local produce.
Even flowers have a sizable carbon footprint if they have to travel far in refrigerated trucks. Find a market where you can buy freshly picked beauties for your table, or find them in your own garden.
If your guests are fond of party games, have a little parlour tournament. Take friendly wagers and donate proceeds to a local development program. Inviting a representative from a community project creates awareness, and makes for interesting table conversation. Cover all bases by putting earth-friendly hand soap in your guest bathroom, and serving only organic wine and fair trade coffee.
Wrapping things up
Re-use what you can, recycle or compost what you can’t. Even the best planned party will have leftovers, so wrap them up in biodegradable wax paper and send them home with your guests. If you want to add a party favour, indigenous seeds or potted plants are nice ideas. Make parcels or wrapping out of used paper grocery bags or newspaper. Wash up using earth-friendly detergents, and remember to be sparse with water.
Make your next dinner party a no-waste affair, and you’ll soon discover how easy it is to entertain with the earth in mind. Remember, your eco-friendly dinner party will not only make the environment happy, it will also inspire green thinking in your guests.
Author BioEmily Apple is a freelance writer, artist and jewellery designer. She is a firm believer in filling her days with positive information, people and experiences to achieve a fulfilling life – a quest she takes most seriously. She lives in sunny South Africa, but spends as much time as possible exploring the world.