We have all done it. It’s shameful, embarrassing to admit, and downright lazy. We see our friends and family do it. We witness our neighbors do it. We do it at home, on the road, camping and perhaps even at work too. It is likely the single laziest part of a lot of get-togethers. What is it? Single use dinnerware, an unsustainable menu and a whole lot of trash. Disposable plates, utensils, cups and a menu full of ingredients that have traveled thousands of miles when local options are just down the road at the farmers market. This is something many of us are guilty of, but not to fear because there is hope! There are always alternatives to environmentally damaging habits and I would love to share a few event planning tips so that we can all host environmentally friendly events without causing a negative environmental impact.
- Send an e-vite! Save money on postage and avoid paper waste by creating an electronic invitation. Grandma doesn’t have email? Try a phone call instead. I’m sure she’d like to hear your voice anyway.
- Take a trip to your local farmer’s market; we are in California after all. Among other things, one of the most glorious aspects about being a San Diegan is year round farmers markets. Don’t forget to grab your reusable bag on your way out the door and try building a menu around what’s in season. Talk about a great excuse to be creative and try something new!
- BYO everything. That’s right, tell your buddies to bring a plate, fork, cup and voilà, no need for single use plates, utensils or cups. If your party is step up from the casual BBQ, try sustainable options like these.
- Separate the inevitable waste. Of course, there will be some waste to any event, but planning a head and providing your guests with the proper receptacles can go a long way. From simple recyclable versus trash, to adding in compost and plastics is a great way to take that extra step to helping out.
- Potted décor. If you’d like your party to have some décor and aesthetic cohesiveness, try some potted plants on your tables from a native plant nursery as opposed to a vase full of cut flowers that will die next week. Potted plants are a great take home gift for your guests, too.
The key to any successful event is planning ahead, so why not plan ahead sustainably?