By Fredrica Syren:
I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas and I particularly love hosting Christmas parties. Parties are fun but can cause lots of waste and are in general not so green. I was not too surprised to learn that we tend to produce more trash around the holidays here in the U.S. Actually, we create about 25% more waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than during the rest of the year.
But the good news is that there are ways to decrease waste produced this holiday season, and make your next holiday party a little greener and your trash can empty.
Send paperless invitations — Paper invitations waste trees and natural resources. The best option is to send electronic invitations by using email or Evite.com. This eliminates tons of paper and saves the trees. Forget old impersonal evites, and add pictures and art to make them more fun and personal
Incorporate reusable or natural decorations — Forget disposable decorations that will just fill up your trash can, and instead say hello to anything you can use again. Why not use materials from nature like fallen branches, leaves, pinecones, etc.? Once you’re finished with these, you can add them to the compost — or why not use them to decorate the garden?
Skip the paper plates, plastic cups, bowls, napkins, etc. — I know that no one likes to do dishes all night after a party; but while plastic or Styrofoam cups and disposable dishware and utensils may be more convenient, they’re incredibly wasteful and they do end up in a landfill after the party. We use our regular plates and glasses, and — oh, yeah — it means more dishes for us to clean afterward. But nothing is more wasteful than disposable products. If you do want to utilize something disposable, choose items made from natural materials like cornstarch or bamboo that can be recycled or composted.
Use cloth tablecloths and napkins — Again, I know this does require more work with laundry afterward, too, but it’s a great way to reduce trash. Besides, it’s cheaper and looks way better.
Make fun organic and healthy treats — One major way to cut down on waste is to buy organic food from a local farmers’ market. Buy loose food rather than pre-packaged (even vegetables). I know it means more slicing and cutting, but it’s the best green way. While you’re shopping for the food for your party, use reusable produce bags. Google some fun, inspiring holiday treats to serve like this one from Martha Stewart or some vegan ones, perhaps.