It’s that time of year again! Over the Christmas season, most of us gather with our friends and visit family members to celebrate. But all those dinner parties and festivities do add up – think about the non-recyclable bunting and tinsel to the food waste from overflowing buffet spreads. This doesn’t mean that we can’t host a greener, more eco-friendly party this year! Here are some ideas that might inspire you.
1. THROW A DIY HOLIDAY SWEATER PARTY.
Here’s the catch: all guests’ sweaters need to be second-hand, recycled or reused, and/or decorated with items found around the home.
2. SEND ELECTRONIC INVITES.
Printing multiple invitations likely to be tossed after the party (no offense) is a wasteful paper use. Several websites like Minted or Paperless make elegant cards comparable in style to your mailed variety, with less cost to your bank account and the environment.
3. HOST A VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN MEAL.
Reduce your carbon footprint and avoid the temptation of seasonal over-indulgence at the same time by hosting a vegetarian or vegan get-together featuring tasty treats like these espresso almond butter cups.
4. CHOOSE ORGANIC AND LOCAL FOOD.
Be sure to choose organic options wherever available when whipping up your favorite recipes. Also, consider offering foods made with what’s in season and/or locally sourced from a nearby Christmas market.
5. USE REUSABLE DISHES AND CUTLERY.
Alternatively, help your guests contribute to the green effort by providing clearly marked trash receptacles for different types of party waste – compostable food scraps, paper, plastic, glass, etc.
6. MAKE YOUR DÉCOR ECO-CHIC!
Choose a potted tree instead of an artificial one, or get crafty and make natural holiday decorations. Another option is to visit your local thrift store to find gently used and vintage pieces. Finally, switch your holiday lighting to LEDs (light-emitting diode bulbs) – they’re 90 percent more efficient than traditional holiday lights, and they last far longer.
7. HAVE A NEGATIVE WASTE PARTY.
Ask your guests to bring hard-to-recycle items like old batteries and LED lights and offer to recycle these for them.
8. GIVE GUESTS A SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS GIFT.
Send your guests home with party gifts that give back, like our Love Crunch Granola—plus, they’ll love waking up to a decadent treat for breakfast the following day!
9. USE UP-CYCLED GIFT BOXES.
Use an old cereal box to make eco-friendly gift boxes. You can also create a gathering around this activity if holiday sweater parties or cookie swaps aren’t your thing.
10. USE METAL SILVERWEAR.
This goes without saying, but single-use plastic silverware is bad for the environment. According to the United Nations Environment Program, of the 9 billion tons of plastic produced, only 9% ends up in recycling. The rest of this plastic ends up in landfills and oceans. Scientists estimate that 8 million tons of plastic are washed into the sea each year, leading to the death of marine animals through drowning or suffocation. And don’t even get us started on plastic straws.
Swap these single-use plastics for metal and glass alternatives. If you’re hosting for a crowd, ask everyone to BYOF (bring your own fork), and make sure you have a buddy who can stick around and help with the dishes.
11. MAKE USE OF LEFTOVERS.
For a grown-up, eco-friendly party favor, order a bundle of Stasher bags and send guests home with leftovers. If the bags are beyond your budget, ask guests to bring a side or a dessert. Not only does this take the pressure off of you to cook everything (or accommodate food allergies), it also allows guests to repurpose their empty serving dishes as leftover trays.
Just remember, not everyone is an expert cook; it’s OK if a guest brings a bottle of wine instead of a dish. You can work through that when the time comes.
12. COMPOST FOOD SCRAPS.
We would never tell you to save the food scraps left on your guests’ plates, but just because you won’t be eating them doesn’t mean you should toss them in the garbage. Yes, you can make environmentally friendly choices with your food scraps. Try getting started with these easy composting tips if you don’t have a compost bin at home. Most cities also have drop-off points, typically at local farmers’ markets, that make composting easy. Get in the habit of doing this with all of your food scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds in the future.