New This Month

It's Earth Day! How to Host an Eco-Friendly Party

When hosting a party, with menu-setting and playlist-planning, "going green" might not be the first item on your to-do list. But it doesn't have to be hard; here are a few simple, eco-friendly party tips for any event.

fathers-day-brunch-mld108520.jpg

Make your intentions clear

The fact that your party is "green" shouldn't be a secret. After all, why not take some pride in your efforts? We advise letting your guests know beforehand that you're hosting an eco-friendly bash. It'll encourage them to practice green habits while celebrating, and—who knows?—it might even inspire them to host their own parties the same way.

 

Turn down the lights

Just think of it as mood lighting that also saves you energy! For evening events, a few candles here and there will take care of any minor visibility problems. Anticipating a full-blown solar eclipse? We still think you can make it work—just use eco-friendly lightbulbs instead of traditional incandescents. Though the planet itself can't thank you directly (well, at least not immediately), your wallet surely will.

A woman smiles while looking at her cell phone.
Photography by: Getty Images

Go paperless

E-vites are the easiest way to avoid wasting paper. Check out the beautiful options at curated designer e-vite sites like Paperless Post, or simply create a Facebook event or email thread for a more casual affair. For the smallest gatherings, even a group text will do. If your event is more formal and you feel it's necessary to go the paper route, use recycled, unbleached paper and vegetable-based ink.

 

[WE LOVE: These 4 Sustainable Stationery Makers]

 

Don't overcook

You can hlep keep costs—and food waste—down by knowing exactly how many people you need to feed. (Don't worry, you can still be the world's greatest host without offering thirds, fourths, and fifths.) Sure, you don't want your guests to go home hungry. But be strategic about it: make sure guests know exactly how much grub there is (say, by mindfully arranging platters or placing all food items in one area), and they're more likely to think twice before piling their plates too high.

 

[HOW: To Help Fight Food Waste In Your Own Kitchen]

mld103780_0508_recycles.jpg

Waste not 

Loud, proud signage distinguishing recycling and compost bins from trash receptacles is a must. Equally helpful are colored drink stirrers that will aid each attendee in keeping track of his or her glassware and stop them from reaching for a new glass on every pour. As it happens, eco-practices don't just help the environment; they can also prove quite useful when it comes to cleanup as well.

 

[SEE: Why One Family Decided to Live Zero Waste—And How They Did It]
med103367_1207_goatfig.jpg

Consider finger foods

With no plates or utensils in sight, finger foods will help to keep food waste (and more costs!) down right from the get-go. They'll also encourage your guests to eat one item at a time, which means there'll be less unfortunate overloading and wasted leftovers. And in the rare case that fingers do prove ineffective (think: cocktail meatballs), we think a few toothpicks will still be acceptable by Mother Nature's standards. 

 

[TRY: 65 Easy and Delicious Finger Food Recipes]

 

Keep it fresh

Shopping at the farmers' market may not be one of the most visible green choices you can make, but it's certainly one of the most important. Beyond the fact that you'll probably come away with more interesting-looking varieties of fruits and vegetables than you would at a chain supermarket, you should note that many smaller, local farms make efforts to effectively protect soil, air, and water resources. They also often lower distribution costs, food waste and promote biodiversity and soil fertility. How's that for a conversation starter? Find a farmers' market near you here, then find out how to make the most of your market haul with our ideal storage solutions to keep food fresher, longer.

 

Want more green living tips? Check out the video below: