One of the best things about summer is the excuse to gather friends and family. These occasions are fantastic for warming the soul, but often can be bad for the environment, with single-use items and food waste taking a toll. Follow these top tips for a sustainable party.
It is lovely to receive post that isn’t a bill, but if you’re sending invites to a lot of people, it’s worth considering the impact of this. Emailing party invites, setting up a Facebook group or sending texts work equally as well – check out greenvelope.com who will design a stylish invite for you with RSVP tracking.
Set up recycling bins outside
Even if you’ve covered all bases with your sustainable party prep, leave nothing to chance and set up a recycling station in your garden. Use separate bins for food waste, paper, plastic, bottles and cans so you can dispose of them properly. It will also cut down on the amount you have to clean up the next day.
It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But there is so much waste created when people come over for a party. Use your regular cutlery and crockery to swerve plastic versions, whip up some simple fabric napkins by cutting any leftover fabric into squares and hemming the edges, and decorate with flowers or paper chains instead of balloons.
Use your old jars
Whenever you buy something in a jar, from jam to marmite, keep hold of it once used up. Wash and clean them right away and scrub off any labels (a quick rub with oil and baking soda will help clear any sticky spots). Your clean empty jars can come in handy in so many ways – use them to make cute flower centrepieces, house tea lights for when the evening grows dark or even as vessels for drinks.
Hire don’t buy
If you’re throwing a bigger bash then you might find your four chairs and picnic blanket don’t quite fit your needs. You might have kind friends or neighbours who are prepared to spare you some seats, you could always ask people to bring their own, or consider renting larger items instead of investing in items you will only use once or twice. Check out freecycle.org too, you could find exactly what you need, then you can post it back on the site when you’re done.
Wowing your guests with a plant-based spread will save you time, money and lessen your environmental impact. Create some gorgeous salads, grill some corn on the cob, offer up veggie burgers and let your guests discover how delicious a BBQ can be without the animal products.
If it’s your birthday, or you just have generous friends who don’t like to show up to a gathering empty-handed, consider asking for an environmentally-friendly present. Charity donations, and rescue animal sponsorships are great, but if they insist, ask for plants or items you’ll really make the most of. Not only is this a sustainable party – but now it’s an ethical one, too.
After a lot of parties the amount of discarded cans and bottles can really add up. Consider buying a keg of beer from a local brewery to cut down on waste – you can return the keg afterwards. Make up a big bowl of tasty punch, too, keeping your guests, and the planet, happy.
If you know your friends and family are coming from afar, work out if there is a more sustainable way for them to travel to your event. Encourage them to walk, take public transport, or if some are coming by car, hook them up with guests who may be making the same trip for a lift share.
As the evening draws in, the temperature can often drop. You might not have space to fit everyone inside but if you want to keep the party spirit going, you’ll need to make sure people aren’t cold. To keep your guests warm and happy, avoid using fuel burning heaters and offer old jumpers and blankets for friends to cosy up under.