Long ago, a birthday celebration
included a special dessert served at the end of dinner. Then, at some point in time, parties became larger and more complicated, with lots of special supplies in addition to the special meals. And before we became aware that our party planning choices were making a negative impact on the environment, we would decide to have a party and head to the party supply store. We would stock up on plastic table cloths, paper streamers, latex balloons, mylar
confetti, paper plates, styro
cups, plastic forks, disposable
centerpieces, and glitter covered invitations. Everything in the aisles were coordinated, and it was hard not to get carried away by all of the wonderful brightly colored, and festive decorations. These well-stocked aisles made party decorating easy and fun.
Then something changed, and we took a look at how our simply party planning
choices were impacting the environment. In times of old, washing extra dessert plates was the only extra thing required for a special occasion meal, and there was little or no additional trash to be added to the trash pile. But if you stop and look at the amount of trash that is created for a current day, traditional birthday party, you would likely be amazed. And while it is possible to think that this is only One Party....you must consider that this is One Party for you TODAY, and that you and your family have a dozen parties per year, and each family you know has a dozen parties per year, and when you multiply
that times millions of families per year...well, it is a staggering
thought to imagine how much trash has been created for This One Party.
So as the time arrives that you begin the planning of your next birthday, or special occasion party, you will want to make the party festive and fun, and yet be gentle to the environment. It is possible to do both, but you may note that you are spending less time at the party supply store, and a little more time looking through your closets, pulling out older linens and finding new uses for your own possessions.
Here are some suggestions for being kinder to Mother Earth while planning your next party.
1. Use fabric linens. Use linens you already own, borrow from a friend, or make them from sheets or fabric scraps. Make a "topper" for the table if you note stains on the tablecloths. You can rent linens if you cannot locate a sufficient number to cover your tables. Remember you can mix different patterns of white under cloths, and add matching toppers, such as a colored square.
2. Use washable dish ware, glass ware and eating utensils. Mix and match dishes and glasses, or rent them if you must have matching sets.
3. If you must use disposable
products, use eco
-friendly products such as: corn-based beverage containers, sugarcane pulp paper plates, recycled paper napkins, and potato pulp eating utensils
. All of these items may be placed in your compost pile, and will add to next year's garden.
4. Live plants or candles make beautiful centerpieces. Give plants to guests as a favor, or plant in your yard as a reminder of your special party.
5. Skip the balloons, confetti and plastic decorations.
6. Use cupcakes and skip extra plates, and forks.
7. Have a day-time party, and avoid the need for extra lighting. If hosting an evening event, use candles placed in canning jars, and hung from branches in trees for outdoor lighting. Tin cans, with holes punched in the sides also make wonderful luminaries when hung from trees. Use solar lighting when possible, also.
8. Simplify. Take a hint from our ancestors and skip the streamers and fanfare, and make the special dessert the highlight of the event.
Plan your party, and remember that we can have a fun and festive day while still being environmentally conscience.