It can be tempting to trade sustainability for convenience when hosting a party, but with the right products and plan, your next party can be a success on multiple fronts: have fun, and leave a low carbon footprint. The upcoming season is filled with opportunities for celebration and gatherings, so here are our tips for becoming a more eco-conscious host.

Plan Your Party With Time and Temperature In Mind.

Before you settle on a time and day for your shindig, consider the energy you’ll need to heat or cool the space. If possible, plan your event for a mild part of the day when there will be plenty of natural sunlight. Can you plan a backyard party that requires no artificial lighting? How about a evening soiree with low lights and the breeze from open windows? Try to avoid an indoor party in the midst of a hot and humid summer, otherwise, you’ll be using tons of energy keeping your guests cool.

Go Paperless.

Use an online e-invitation or something even simpler like a social media event or email invite. If it seems appropriate, let your guests know that your party is going green and ask them to get on board. Some hosts request that guests bring their own reusable dishes or cutlery. Others may encourage guests to carpool, take public transportation, or bike to the festivities.

Get an Accurate Head Count.

Knowing how many people to expect can help you eliminate food waste by planning portions. Most e-invitations have a simple RSVP function, and many will even send reminder emails periodically to prompt guests to respond. Of course, Facebook events offer an easy way for guests to respond as well. Before finalizing your menu and doing the shopping, follow up individually with a phone call or text message to double check the numbers. The more accurate your head count, the better you can avoid over-preparing food that might go to waste.

Choose Locally Grown Foods.

Locally grown, organic foods have a significantly lower carbon footprint than foods that are sourced from several hundred miles away. Choosing organic and meat-free options also greatly reduces the impact on the environment. Organic foods require 30-50% less energy to produce, and eliminating meat products, or at least meat and lamb, can make a major difference (source).

Decorate Wisely.

You’ll want to avoid single use party decor like balloons, streamers, plastic centerpieces, and other items. Instead, check your home or backyard for items you can re-purpose. Chances are, you have a lovely vase that could double as a centerpiece for your buffet table. Fill it with flowers or pine cones gathered from your yard. If you must make a decor purchase, choose sustainable products that can be reused for other occasions, like this felt table runner that can be used for multiple holidays or events.

Ditch Disposable Dinnerware.

Use the real stuff, or encourage grazing with finger foods and cloth napkins. Aside from filling up landfills, paper plates and cups require tons of water to produce. While it will take some water and energy to wash the dishes later, your overall impact is reduced when you ditch disposable items. If reusable plates aren’t possible, look into eco-conscious & compost-friendly options.

Provide Clearly Labeled Waste Receptacles.

Make it easy for your guests to responsibly sort their waste. Having a clear and visible plan for waste will greatly reduce your party’s carbon footprint. Set out a recycling bin labeled with acceptable items like cans, plastic, glass bottles, etc. Designate one area for food waste that can be composted, and lastly, leave a trash bin for items that must go in the garbage.

Not all of these tips may be your cup of tea, but making some small yet mindful choices when planning your next party can make a big impact on the environment. For more tips on how to incorporate eco-friendly, sustainable practices into your daily life, visit My Green Blog today.