Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Have Green Birthday Party


Disposable plates, napkins, silverware, all that wrapping paper, unwanted gifts...the trash that piles up just from one birthday party can be overwhelming. It's time to make celebrations a bit more eco-friendly. Tread more lightly on the planet and think before consuming resources and producing so much waste. You can go green and not go without.

Send eco-invitations. You have several options: recycled paper, tree free paper or no paper. You can make or purchase invitations made from recycled, tree free or even handmade seeded paper. You can also go completely paperless by sending emails or using a digital invitation site like Evite or Pingg

Get creative with the tableware. Use cloth table linens, napkins, and reusable plates and silverware. If you don't have enough scour the thrift shops for something colorful and fun that is relatively cheap. If you don't want to keep it after the party, donate it back to the store. You'll be doing doubly good by saving resources and helping a good cause. If you must use disposables options for papers made from 100 percent post consumer recycled waste and fibers that are biodegradable.

Make the decorations part of the gifts. Have the decor do double duty as presents. Skip the balloons and toss away posters and streamers. Get decorative lamps, vases, framed prints and other eco-friendly items that can be part of an elegant decor, but that can also be given as presents.

Look to Mother Nature for other eco-friendly decorations. Flowers, potted plants, pretty rocks and stones, branches, fresh fruit and veggies in vases--all of these make eco-elegant decor and can be eaten or returned to nature after the party.

Serve a yummy menu full of local, seasonal and organic foods. Visit your local Farmer's Market, local farm stands and roadside produce sellers for fresh seasonal foods. If it's the middle of winter and your options are minimal, at least opt for organic.

Bake a green cake by using local and organic ingredients. If you don't bake, find a local baker that uses locally grown/made and organic ingredients. It's still a cake, but it will be a healthier, greener version of the traditional cake.

Create a green registry so guests can bring eco-gifts like recycled glassware, bamboo linens and kitchenware, tree-free journals and note cards, soy candles or whatever other eco-stuff the birthday person would like. If the birthday person is a child, ask for organic stuffed animals, wooden toys and other green goodies for kids.

Request packages and gifts with little to no packaging and wrapping paper to save on resources and reduce waste.

Skip the guest treat bags or give eco-treats. Fill reusable canvas or cloth tote bags with green goodies like a CFL bulb, organic cookies or soy tea light candles. For kids, go with mini notebooks made from recycled paper, eco-friendly crayons or markers, wooden yo-yos and low sugar organic cookies or candy.

Recycle everything you can after the party: cans, bottles, left over paper, etc.

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