This year is drawing to a close, and what better way to ring in 2017 than with an eco-friendly New Year’s party? Start your next year of purposeful living with a celebration that lives up to the lifestyle you support. Taking steps to make it eco-friendly just makes sense, and it’s not too difficult to do.
1. Email your party invites to save paper
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. uses 69 million tons of paper and paperboard per year. Save money and the environment! Companies like Paperless Post make it easy to send free, attractive invitations via email to minimize the extra waste created by producing and delivering paper.
2. Choose local food and drink
Choose produce that is in season, and buy locally whenever possible. Try to purchase food that’s organically, sustainably grown, and make sure to include some vegetarian options; meatless dishes save on water and energy used to raise livestock. Visit your nearest farmer’s market for inspiration and ingredients. If you’re serving soda, use aluminum cans, which are easier to recycle than plastic bottles.
3. Stock up on second hand linens
Hit up your local secondhand store for vintage linens that’ll last, like tablecloths and napkins. Shopping secondhand for these items will help keep costs down – perhaps even less than buying plastic table cloths and paper napkins for each event – and it’ll be far less heartbreaking if a guest permanently stains a cloth tablecloth when it only cost you as much as a cup of coffee.
4. Use real plates and stemware
If you are hosting the party at home, treat your guests to real plates and glasses. Not only will it add elegance to your event, but it will save the landfill from unnecessary waste. If you aren’t interested in doing all those dishes, use biodegradable or compostable dishes and utensils. These ecofriendly cups from Loliware are even edible! How’s that for zero waste?
5. Utilize reusable decorations
If available, snip seasonal greenery from your yard to accessorize a door or tablescape. Make easy beeswax candles using sheets of beeswax and rolling around a long candle wick. Cut off excess wick at the bottom and tie a pretty rafia ribbon around the center. Use pots of flowers as party and table decor. Let guests take one home as favor at the end of the party.
With these shifts and a few other small tweaks here and there – paper straws instead of plastic, a large drink dispenser rather than individual soft drinks or juice boxes, providing a compost bin for food waste in addition to garbage and recycling bins – you’ll be set to celebrate the new year in style, without suffering the accompanying garbage hangover the next day. Don’t forget to clean up any messes or spills with Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegars. Cheers!