Easy Ways to Make Your Next Event Environmentally Friendly
Every occasion deserves a celebration, but celebrations do not need to be extravagantly wasteful.
Learn how to celebrate and make positive changes for the environment at the same time*.
What is a “green” or sustainable event?
A “green” event is a gathering that incorporates environmental considerations. The goal of a “green” event is to minimize negative impacts on the environment, from planning to catering and décor.
Why is being “green” important to consider?
Parties and events usually generate huge amount of waste.
Did you know that the events industry is one of the most wasteful? When organizing an event, it is important to limit unnecessary amounts of waste and energy. Guests will notice the sustainable habits you adopt for your party and you will create a positive influence in your life and the lives of people around you.
How can you plan a successful “green” event?
It is possible to have a unique, elegant, and fun event while honoring our sense of environmental consciousness. There are many ways to maintain negative impacts on the environment. I promise there will be no complications, extra expenses, headaches, or logistical nightmares; just a few easy steps to follow that will make a real difference while keeping all the fun.
The key to a successful “green” event is to use what we already have and think outside the box. Adapt these small changes to the size of your party or event.
Invitations - Save trees, money, and time!
• Send digital invitations: There are many companies that offer event invitations online, like Evite, Paperless Post, or Punchbowl. You can choose your themed invitation and reach out to hundreds of guests in just one click! If traditional invitations are a must have, pick up a sustainable brand and choose recycled paper.
• Name cards (if applicable): Use leaves, flat pieces of bark or wood from outside, or even pieces of cardboard to write names on with water-based paint.
Transportation - Anticipate and provide guidance.
• Encourage carpooling, walking, public transportation, or biking.
Food and Drinks - Minimize waste and opt for reusables, not disposables
• Ditch single-use plastic: Use washable, recyclable, or biodegradable plates and utensils instead.
• Borrow or buy mason jars to use as glasses – so trendy!
• Opt for larger drink packages, glass bottles, or aluminum cans instead of individual plastic bottles.
• Use cloth instead of paper napkins (rent if needed).
• Offer healthy and local foods to reduce gas emissions during transportation.
• Have a leftovers plan: We always buy more food than we consume. Consider donating or freezing excess food.
Eco-Friendly Décor - Get inspiration and be creative.
• Be crafty: Usually at this time of the year, my garage is full of paint, cardboard boxes, blueprints, and ideas for the annual festival of my community The "Highlands Day" decorations. I disguised the main building as a castle for the day in 2017, made a giant birthday cake in 2018, and transformed a parking garage into a Mario Bros. adventure last year.
All this décor was made with recycled materials and reused several times on many occasions since then. See more
• Borrow, rent or reuse: Use durable décor elements, like drapes and candle holders. How about a wheelbarrow with ice for your drinks?
• Buy “green”: Check out your local thrift store to find second-hand décor treasures.
• Substitute: Trade balloons for paper poms, and paper or can lanterns.
• Decorate with nature: Use natural wood or upcycle pallets into signs. Use fresh and local seasonal flowers. (Ask your florist for their leftover flowers that are ready to go to the compost bin. Offering a second chance to these flowers before they end up in the bin would be perfect and cheap!) Be creative with pinecones and needles across the table, branches, and rocks in jars on your buffet table.
Toss It Properly - Spread the goodness and inspire green practices
• Encourage your guests to recycle properly by putting recycling and compost bins next to garbage bins with a “what goes where?” sign.
• Favors and Goodies: Think of something useful, handmade, personalized, plastic-free or edible.
• When the fun is over, share your ideas and pass your decorations on to someone else on local Facebook pages.
*For your safety, please refer to coronavirus.wa.gov/ what-you-need-know/stay-home-stay-healthy for the latest COVID-19 guidance related to gatherings and events
“This story was first published in Issaquah Highlands’ Connections news, August 2020”
Hi, I am Aline.
Cardboard Designer & Eco-lifestyle Coach
Creative and eco-minded French-native mom of 3, you can find me sipping a cup of tea, eating French pastries, hiking around with my border collie, designing a new piece of art or advocating for a greener lifestyle. Everywhere I go, I always have some dust of joy and creativity in my back pocket.