Whether you’re planning a family reunion, an annual meeting for your workplace, or a community-wide festival, makes it a more environmentally friendly event. Your family, co-workers, neighbors, and future generations will be grateful that you took time to look for solutions that are green.
Many events involve several areas where waste can be reduced or prevented in the early planning stages. Is your event informal enough to invite guests by telephone? If so, don’t waste paper. Getting the word out by e-mail is another efficient method, if friends or relatives have e-mail access. If you want to send formal invitations, consider a postcard format or one sheet of folded paper with party information on the inside and room for the address on the outside. Local copying services will help you design your own with recycled paper and vegetable based inks.
If you have a choice of venue, try places that are centrally located and accessible by mass transit. When appropriate, suggest carpooling or using other alternatives that use less fuel. For out-of-town guests flying in, suggest an arrival time “window” which would allow you to make fewer trips to the airport. If your guests will stay in area hotels, research those which are environmentally friendly (optional linen replacement, in-room recycling, sensor lighting) and refer them to guests.
When planning the menu, use organic, locally grown foods, as much as possible. Consider vegetarian choices, which also help reduce the environmental impact on water, energy and soil. If you’re planning an outdoor event, consider a menu of “finger foods” to eliminate the necessity for utensils.
Use simple, non-themed decorations which can be reused for other occasions. Consider using live plants rather than cut flowers. If flowers are used, donate leftovers or compost them for garden use. Using locally grown flowers reduce energy and pollution. Party favors are an opportunity to show off recycled content or environmentally related items such as “to go” mugs or reusable ceramic mugs, recycled pens or pencils (imprinting with the party theme is a nice touch) or eco-fabric T-shirts.
If you’re taking your own photos, or having friends do it, use a non-disposable camera. If your family members have computers, consider a digital camera with photos that can be sent via e-mail. There’s no need to develop them, so it’s a less expensive and less wasteful solution. If your event calls for special equipment, check first to see if you can use borrowed, rented, or secondhand items before purchasing anything new. Cutting down on consumption is usually a good environmental choice and easier on the wallet.
There are numerous ways to green up any occasion. Just look online for all the different things that can be tweaked for any party.