5 Tips to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Eco-Friendly Party
Hosting an outdoor event can be a fantastic experience but it’s important to remember the planet providing such a nice venue. Here are five tips to consider when planning an eco-friendly party.
1. Choose a Sustainable Venue
The first thing to consider when planning an outdoor party is where you’ll have it. You might think that any outdoor area will be sustainable. Indeed, being outdoors is typically more sustainable than an indoor venue— not all outside locations are equal.
Choose a location that requires the least amount of travel. A park in the city could work if most of your guests live or work nearby. However, guests who have to drive and sit through traffic will grow their carbon footprint by their vehicle emissions. At the same time, requiring groups to travel miles away to a remote setting can have a similar effect.
Try to choose a place with nearby public transportation, such as a bus or train station. They could encourage your guests to travel that way, helping the environment. You can also encourage guests to carpool or offer a shuttle between an easily accessible point and your venue.
Pay attention to what the venue offers. Visit it ahead of time and see if it’s a clean space or if there’s a lot of garbage or materials around emitting carbon. You may not want to support a place that doesn’t offer recycling services or doesn’t promote a safe business for the environment and your guests.
Find out if local venues use renewable energy for lighting and equipment. If their restrooms have automatic tap sensors or double-flush toilets, it can save you from worrying about wasting water.
Moreover, you may want to choose a venue with an indoor option–especially if you can’t reschedule. Nature can be unpredictable and you don’t want to waste energy and items by planning an event that doesn’t happen.
2. Send Digital Invitations
Paper invitations might seem nice but often aren’t worth the emissions used to create and send them out. Most people will put the date on their calendar and throw it away before or after the event. Paper makes up more than a quarter of all landfill waste. If sustainability is a priority, steer clear of the mail-in invites.
Digital invitations don’t release carbon emissions and are often more accessible for people to remember. Sending them directly through email or a social media platform lets them return to access it anywhere via their device.
If you have elderly or non-tech-savvy guests, you can make out a few physical invitations. Try to use compostable paper and deliver them in person. Plus, you save money on postage.
3. Carefully Select Your Decorations
Decorations are one of the best parts of any party and you don’t have to give them up to be sustainable. Here are some ideas for eco-friendly decor.
Use Natural Decorations
If you’re a plant lover, consider using live plants to add fun and color to your venue. You can take them home after or give them away as door prizes. You can also use picked flowers to make bouquets and wreaths. You can create ornaments and unique centerpieces out of collected twigs. You can also fill clear glasses and vases with smooth stones. If your party is in the fall, you can take advantage of fallen leaves to add plenty of natural color to your party.
Repurposing materials like cardboard, plastic bottles, cloth and paper can create decor with a bit of creativity. You can create signs, table runners and garlands with scissors, an adhesive and some organic paint. You can dye old sheets and towels to create banners, tablecloths and wall hangings. Use cleaned plastic bottles as vases for sand and flowers. You can use the lids as game pieces and the bodies as a base for a whimsical fairy home.
There are so many do-it-yourself (DIY) activities with cardboard, including creating artificial flowers and snowflakes. You can use cardboard, old newspapers and a cornstarch solution to create a festive bowl or pinata to fill with party favors.
You don’t have to be a DIY expert to create great decorations. Many online tutorials can help you make the perfect decor for your outdoor celebration.
4. Have Locally-Sourced Snacks
Fruit and vegetable trays are a typical snack at parties. Consider visiting your local farmers market instead of purchasing your produce from a chain store.
Fresh produce at chain grocery stores can travel thousands of miles before reaching your party table. Producers spray the items with chemicals and gasses to prevent them from spoiling. Those preservatives can leak into the air and affect sensitive individuals. Shipping vehicles contribute to greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world.
The more local your food source is, the less you’ll contribute to emissions and the more nutritious the food remains. Cookies and cakes can come from local bakeries. Supporting local businesses for your party promotes economic sustainability and limits the support of mass-manufactured products, shrinking your party’s carbon footprint.
When shopping, use reusable bags instead of plastic ones. Aside from the carbon emissions they release in landfills, plastic grocery bags can disrupt ecosystems since many birds mistake them for food sources. Cotton mesh produce bags have holes that allow your items to breathe and last longer. Depending on where you live, you may not have the option to use plastic bags much longer.
5. Use Biodegradable Supplies
Biodegradable items are helpful for parties since they significantly reduce your waste. Several companies offer biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery that you can feel good about your guests using.
When shopping for biodegradable items, avoid the traps set by greenwashing. Manufacturers will sometimes use “natural” images, colors and textures to make it seem like their products are eco-friendly when they’re not. Don’t trust something that looks biodegradable. Check the label to ensure microorganisms can safely and easily break down the materials.
Biodegradable materials include bamboo, cork, mycelium, natural fabrics, hemp and untreated wood.
Why Eco-Friendliness is Important at Gatherings
Research shows that one party guest can produce more than two pounds of waste at an event. Trash ends up in landfills, contributing to the increasing impacts of climate change. The world is already seeing more severe weather events, public health impacts and food and clean water shortages thanks to the climate crisis. Hosting an outdoor, eco-friendly party doesn’t contribute to the further production of single-use items.
Hosting an Eco-Friendly Party
When hosting a gathering, you can use these tips to keep the environment in mind. An eco-friendly event is one you can feel good about hosting. It lessens your carbon impact and sets a positive example to your guests.