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There’s nothing quite like gathering with friends and loved ones to celebrate special moments. But while we enjoy the festivities, it’s important to remember that our actions can have an impact on the environment.
Thankfully, hosting an eco-friendly party doesn’t mean sacrificing fun or style. With a few thoughtful choices, you can throw a memorable event that not only brings joy but also minimizes waste and promotes sustainability.
In this guide, we’ll share nine practical tips to help you plan an eco-friendly party that leaves a positive imprint on both your guests and the planet.
Let’s get ready to celebrate responsibly and protect our beautiful home.
- 1. Use Digital Invitations
- 2. Support Local and Sustainable Vendors
- 3. Opt for Eco-Friendly Tableware
- 4. Embrace Sustainable Decorations
- 5. Plastic-Free Food
- 6. Go Digital with Games and Activities
- 7. Bring Out Recycling & Compost Bins
- 8. Eco-Friendly Party Favors
- 9. Give to Post-Party Charities
1. Use Digital Invitations
The first step to planning a party is sending out the invitation, so skip the (non-recyclable) paper and plastic this year and make an e-invite. Physical invitations usually get thrown in the trash, and most aren’t recyclable anyway because they probably have some form of plastic or lamination on them (e.g. glitter). Instead, save your money and waste and either make an e-invite online or send a text!
If you’re dedicated to sending paper invites, check out Paper Culture for eco-friendly paper. They source all their paper from 100% recycled paper to bamboo, and they also plant a tree for every order! How awesome is that?
2. Support Local and Sustainable Vendors
If you’re planning to hire external vendors for catering, entertainment, or other services, prioritize local businesses that share your commitment to sustainability. Seek out vendors who use organic, ethically sourced ingredients or offer eco-friendly services.
By supporting these businesses, you’re contributing to the local economy while promoting sustainable practices.
3. Opt for Eco-Friendly Tableware
Parties can be really wasteful because of the single-use plates, cups, and utensils. There are also tons of napkins and paper towels that are wasted during the party and after for cleanup. At least when I was growing up, during birthday parties, we’d have a few trash bags filled to the top with single-use items. All this waste could have been saved if we had just used reusable utensils, plates, napkins, and cups.
The same goes with water bottles- get rid of them! Instead, use a pitcher or carafe for water. Also, make sure to avoid purchasing and giving out plastic straws. If you want to have some in case, look into bamboo straws.
If you’re throwing a bigger party or don’t want to use your personal items, you can also buy cups, utensils, and plates made from bamboo. You can also use unlaminated paper plates and cups, which are 100% compostable. And don’t forget the bamboo napkins!
You should also skip the plastic tablecloths and opt for one made from fabric (or skip it altogether).
4. Embrace Sustainable Decorations
Besides the serving items, decorations also make up a big part of the waste that comes from parties. Some are reusable but still get thrown in the trash eventually, and most aren’t even recyclable.
For example, balloons are single-use and made out of plastic, therefore always inevitably ending up in a landfill or littered somewhere else. Helium is also a nonrenewable resource, and the earth is running out of it. We need helium for a lot of essential things like different medical uses and for MRI magnets. You can read more here about other crucial things helium is used for.
Instead, Decorate your party venue with eco-friendly and reusable decorations. Choose items made from sustainable materials like bamboo, recycled paper, or organic fabrics.
Incorporate potted plants, flowers, or natural elements as centerpieces to bring freshness and beauty to your space. By avoiding single-use decorations, you’ll reduce waste and create a more sustainable ambiance.
- Fabric banner
- Paper fans
- Crepe paper streamers
- Paper pom poms
- Compostable confetti (from flowers & leaves)
You should also save any decorations you use and repurpose them the next year!
Related: How to Gift Wrap Sustainably: 8 Tips
5. Plastic-Free Food
When planning your menu, prioritize locally sourced and organic ingredients. Support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.
Consider vegetarian or vegan options to cater to different dietary preferences and minimize the environmental impact of meat production. Serve drinks in reusable glassware and offer water from pitchers or dispensers instead of individual plastic bottles.
You could also opt to make your own food! Obviously, this is a little bit more time-consuming, but if you have the time, then you should definitely go for it. It’s also a sure way to impress your guests!
You don’t have to make anything super fancy if you don’t want to. Instead, opt for homemade finger food and snacks for easy & simple food ideas! A quick Google search will give you plenty of easy recipes.
Here are some more ideas:
- Make your own fruit & veggie platters
- Make a cake and other desserts from scratch
- Shop the bulk section for extra snacks
- Check out a bakery for more goodies!
6. Go Digital with Games and Activities
Instead of using paper-based games or activities, consider incorporating digital or interactive options. Set up a playlist for a dance party, organize a virtual trivia game, or create a DIY photo booth with a digital camera.
Not only will this save paper, but it will also add an element of excitement and engagement to your event.
7. Bring Out Recycling & Compost Bins
Make it easy for your guests to recycle by setting up clearly labeled recycling bins throughout the party venue. Consider having a separate bin for compostable items as well.
Educate your guests about proper recycling and composting practices, ensuring that waste is disposed of correctly and diverted from the landfill.
Related: How To Recycle: A Step-By-Step Guide
8. Eco-Friendly Party Favors
Instead of traditional party favors that often end up in the trash, consider giving your guests something meaningful and sustainable.
Choose eco-friendly options like potted plants, reusable tote bags, or small items made from recycled materials. Not only will your guests appreciate the thoughtful gesture, but they’ll also take home something that aligns with the eco-friendly spirit of your party.
Here are some great options for sustainable party favors:
- Mini succulents
- Plant seeds
- Bath bomb
- Bamboo utensil set
9. Give to Post-Party Charities
Partner with different charities to donate any leftover food or decorations you have. Look for local homeless shelters or food pantries that will take any leftover food you have. If you use any floral arrangements, you can donate them to charities like Random Acts of Flowers, which will deliver the recycled flowers to different healthcare organizations.
Remember, the goal of an eco-friendly party is to create lasting memories while minimizing the impact on the environment. It’s about celebrating responsibly, demonstrating that sustainability and enjoyment can go hand in hand.
By incorporating these tips, you’ll not only throw a fantastic gathering but also inspire others to follow suit and make conscious choices in their own celebrations.
Let’s lead by example and show that it’s possible to have a good time while caring for the planet. Your eco-friendly party can make a difference, and together, we can create a greener future, one celebration at a time.
So, gather your friends, plan mindfully, and let the eco-friendly festivities begin!