13 Oct Sustainable Event Ideas to Make Your Party More Eco-Friendly
As an event planner, I regularly oversee the clean-up portion of parties. After the guests have gone and the lights are out, you would be truly astonished by the amount of garbage left behind. From food to flowers, it pains me to have to trash things after enjoying them for only a few hours. Every year, though, more and more people are making sustainability a priority, and now there are so many great companies that can help you go green.
However, many of the eco-friendly ideas floating around can be frustrating because they would totally change the vibe of the event. For instance, sometimes you’ve been dreaming of a destination event in Italy with guests flying in from around the globe and a local affair just isn’t the same. As another example, a paperless invite can be perfect for a casual baby shower but a wedding or a big 50th birthday party might call for beautifully printed stationery. But don’t despair… there are still ways to keep the environment in mind! Read on to see all the ideas for making your celebration more eco-friendly without sacrificing your vision.
Hire the Right Vendors
Make it a point to inquire about sustainability initiatives in the vendor search process. A green catering company alone can be super impactful, so don’t be afraid to ask tons of questions: Do they use organic or seasonal ingredients? Train their staff about what can be recycled? Use energy-efficient appliances? Donate or compost leftover food? They may have other ways to reducing waste that you haven’t even thought about yet! When comparing vendors, It’s important to remember that sometimes these green efforts do cost more. Of course it would be cheaper to throw leftovers straight in the trash, but your extra dollars are being spent on the time and effort to sort, repackage and safely transport food to a local shelter.
This one seems obvious but can be tricky if you’re DIY-ing or having a large-scale event. Instead of using single-use plastic serveware, contract a local rental company to provide glassware, flatware and china. Not only are you making a green choice, but you’re also creating a nicer guest experience. If you absolutely must have disposable items, choose bio-degradable options made from materials like bamboo or bagasse.
Pick a Green Hotel
If you’re hosting out-of-town guests for your celebration or conference, find environmentally-friendly accommodations for your recommended group block. Specifically look for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications on their website, which means the property is committed to actions such as conserving energy and water and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If you can find a venue you love that also has these certifications, even better!
Organize a bus to and from the group hotel to the venue. You’ll be cutting back on the number of cars on the road. As a bonus, guests will greatly appreciate it, and you’ll make the parking situation a breeze for local attendees.
Swap Your Signage
Instead of printing signs all over the place, find reusable solutions. Swap traditional escort cards for a gorgeous mirror that lists everyone’s table number — then later use it in your home as a reminder of your event! Instead of bar menus that would be thrown away in mere hours, use mini chalkboards that can be given to a friend with an upcoming party or to the venue to use for future clients.
Donate Your Flowers
Give your blooms a second life by donating them to a local flower recycling organization. Many cities have nonprofits that restyle them into arrangements that are then brought to nursing homes, hospitals or other people that need their day brightened. Another easier option: offer your centerpieces to your guests or the catering team to take home. Seeing a hard-working staff member get excited to bring flowers home to his wife will give you all the feels.
Give Favors That Help the Cause
Whether you’re providing a gift bag or a parting favor, choose things that are good for the environment. A customized stainless steel water bottle is so much better than a plastic one. Try a personalized tote bag that attendees can use again for grocery shopping instead of a paper bag.
What events have you attended that excelled at sustainability? Tell me in the comments!