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Jump on the green bandwagon and throw a low-carbon-footprint party this season.
An eco-friendly party sets a good tone, especially for enjoying the outdoors (and the perfectly nice climate, ahem). There are lots of ways to treat your guests and Mother Earth equally well, and they don’t cost a lot.
Set an Earth-friendly tone early on by sending an online invitation. There are numerous sites that allow you to make creative and classy invites to tell guests about your party without generating extra waste. This is a great way to avoid paper waste, and the carbon emissions of vehicles used to deliver paper invitations via snail mail. (Plus you’ll save yourself some cash!)
Get creative! Check your cupboards for ideas. Your refrigerator is a great place to find possible vases for flowers. Find different sizes of glass containers (salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, old jam jars), then clean them well and remove the labels. You can also use tin cans of different sizes.
Group a variety of sizes and shapes together and put a few blooms in each for a lovely little display. Recycle (or reuse) the jars and cans when you’re finished. Bonus: This is a great excuse to clean out your refrigerator!
Summer is the perfect time to throw a green party because fresh, local produce is available. Serve as many items as you can that are locally grown. Visit the farmer’s market (hop on your bike to get there!) to get all your salad fixings. A Tossed Greens with Sesame and Oranges Salad, Mixed Baby Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Mixed Greens Salad with Warm Walnut Dressing are great light and delicious recipes that will keep your guests coming back for more.
If you’re serving meat, visit a grocery store or co-op that offers organic meat from local sources. Look for grass-fed beef or free-range chicken. Try the Easy Club Salad, Grilled Chicken Kabob Caesar Salad or Grilled Chicken Breasts with Cucumber-Peach Salsa to get all your meats and veggies working together to create a great spread!
For dessert, serve locally grown berries. Mother Earth, and your waistline, will thank you.
Buy items in bulk when possible to cut down on unnecessary packaging. Avoid bottled water or highly processed foods that are individually wrapped. Instead of juice boxes, opt for larger jugs of beverages that come in recyclable containers.
Avoid disposable tableware. If you’re concerned about your regular dishes getting beat up on the lawn, invest in a set of melamine plates. These are sturdy plastic plates that are typically dishwasher safe. Not only are they classier than paper plates, they can be used over and over. Use your regular silverware, rather than plastic—and if you don’t have enough sets, borrow some from a friend or neighbor. (Sharing is the greenest option of all!) If you absolutely must go disposable, at least pick biodegradable plastic forks and knives, and paper (or better, bamboo) plates. This is also a great time to break out cloth napkins rather than using paper.
You can also set the green tone when it comes time to clean up: Have compost and recycle receptacles easily available for guests to use.
Encourage your guests to continue the green trend after they leave your party. Send each family off with a small tree sapling or a package of seeds and encourage them to plant at their house. Or hand everyone a CFL lightbulb to encourage the switch from incandescent at home.
After all this Earth-conscious behavior, I’d say you’ve earned the right to be slightly wasteful (just this once!). Tie your tree sapling or CFL with a pretty ribbon. Even a perfectly green celebration can use a little embellishment. May I suggest a green ribbon?
Here's a quick-list of the yummy recipes listed above:
Tossed Greens with Sesame and Oranges Salad
Mixed Baby Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Mixed Greens Salad with Warm Walnut Dressing
Easy Club Salad
Grilled Chicken Kabob Caesar Salad
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Cucumber-Peach Salsa
What are your Earth-friendly party secrets?