7 Simple Solutions for a More Sustainable Party
Throwing a bash is a lot of work, involves a lot of attention to detail, and is incredibly rewarding. It also results in a lot more trash than if everyone stayed home. Over the past year, my site has thrown two big parties (one for 200 people and one for 130) in New York City, most recently we’ve even hosted a panel about Our Sustainable Future at Splacer’s Exquisite Gallery Space ; since we have been publishing about topics in sustainability for over a decade, we are not only passionate about minimizing our events’ footprint, our guests expect it. Here’s how we make it work:
Food & Beverage – Glasses, Plates, and Cutlery
1. Reduce: First, keep it simple. Only get the cutlery or glasses you need—if people are eating a simple piece of cake, they don’t need knives, forks and spoons. Choose one implement. Same with glasses; choose one size unless you must have more than one; the more types of stuff you need, the more waste.
2. Recycle: Second, consider compostable dishware and glasses; there are a number of companies that make beautiful versions, from Susty Party to Bambu to Eco-Products (made from sugarcane).
3. Reuse: If it’s at all possible, rent glassware. This is much more classy and lower impact than even compostable plastics or other disposables. Your photography will look even better (real glasses look much more elegant in party snaps than plastic cups) and your rental company does the dishes!
4. If it’s a smaller gathering, you could even bring your own; or buy reusable mason jars for every guest that they can keep after the event. We brought in a water-bottle sponsor to our most recent event, and our guest had a great, reusable gift—as well as a pretty, bright receptacle they could drink from the night of our event.
5. If you give away guest bags, opt for easily recyclable paper bags or reusable totes. Keep the packaging of the items inside the bags to a minimum—they are already in a bag after all. Rather than giving a small bag filled with less expensive stuff, choose one killer item as a thank you to your guests for attending. They’re more likely to keep it and remember your party, and its less likely to end up in the trash.
6. My business partner, Lindsay, came up with the brilliant idea of paying a local chalk artist to create beautiful, unique art that reflected our invitations—all on chalkboard easels of various sizes— for our first event. They looked wonderful in our photos and we were able to reuse the same signs with new art for our second event. And we can keep on using them.
7. Opt for decorations you can use again and again—or go for local flowers. I think flowers are always the perfect decoration for any occasion and buying them supports local businesses. Also, they can easily be given away to partygoers at the end of the party and then composted.
Starre Vartan, Founder of Eco-Chick