Green Tips For Your Summer Party
What’s the best way to avoid the “Summertime Blues”? Throw a party of course!
Celebrate summer’s sweet inception by hosting the best (and greenest) shindig on the block. So put on your party hat and dancing shoes and follow our green party tips.
Say No To Paper Invites
We know, there’s nothing quite like a personalized invitation in the mail. But stationary can cost a ton of money and use an unnecessary amount of resources.
In fact, the Sierra Club estimates that about 900 million trees are cut down annually for the production of paper worldwide.
While you may think an online invitation isn’t quite as glam, it really is the newest trend in party planning. Online invitation and social planning website evite has more than 22 million registered users and sends out more then 25,000 invitations each hour! Plus, you can create a design that’s perfect for your event. The website even offers eco-themed invitations.
Make That Menu A Local One
Buying from local vendors at places such as farmers’ markets cuts back on carbon emissions because fewer miles traveled from farm to table means fewer emissions produced from the vehicle transporting the food.
Also, try to buy foods produced organically and look for seasonal items to save money and get the best produce available.
For your backyard barbecue, opt for grass-fed burgers and steaks, which typically require fewer pesticides, fossil fuels and antibiotics than the corn-fed alternative.
Energy-Efficient Lighting Of Course
The best way to reduce your party’s footprint is to calculate its energy usage. The No. 1 way to avoid added costs to your electric bill is to utilize the outdoors – perfect lighting, temperature and truly inherent green setting.
Host your barbecue at midday when the light is bright and fills your crowd with energy.
For an upscale affair, hold cocktails at dusk when the backdrop of sunset makes guests feel their most glamorous. In the evening, candles will give your celebration a gilded glow.
But if weather just doesn’t permit, use energy-efficient lighting to illuminate your party. A CFL bulb uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.
Go one step further and upgrade to LED bulbs, which typically have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescents. Typical incandescent bulbs last only 1,000 to 2,000 hours, with some estimates quoting LED lifespans from 25,000 to 50,000 hours.
Decorations Might Be In Your Own Back Yard
You don’t have to buy fancy paper lanterns or tasteful art for your next get-together. Beautiful decor can be found right outside your door. Cut tall grasses and place in a vase.
Fill a glass jar with rocks and top it off with a candle. If you’re a gardener then it’s time to harvest those blooms! Use your old mugs or glass stemware for display.
Use Propane for Grilling
The debate between charcoal and propane is a tough one: Which one produces more flavor? Which is cheaper, faster? And most importantly, which is more eco-friendly?
According to a study by Environment Impact Assessment Review, “the overwhelming factors are that as a fuel, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) is dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production and considerably more efficient in cooking.” The two grilling methods were defined by their overall footprint, with charcoal using 998 kg of CO2, almost three times more than propane, which weighed in at 349 kg.
ScienceDaily reports that as fuel, LPG is “dramatically more efficient than charcoal in its production.” When purchasing a propane tank, make sure there is a trade-in option. Most retailers will let you bring in an empty tank in exchange for a decent discount on your next tank.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
It’s a no-brainer. One of the easiest ways to go green is to recycle your waste. So don’t leave your recycling smarts at home and be sure to put a clearly marked bin out at your party.
There’s a good chance someone will have a plastic cup or a glass bottle to toss in the bin. Also, be sure to check with your local curbside program to confirm the items it accepts for recycling.
Instead of throwing away the leftovers, send guests home with them (or better yet, have them bring a few reusable to-go containers in anticipation of take-home treats!), donate remainder to a local homeless shelter and compost what you can.
For everything that’s left, consider composting. According to the U.S. EPA, each American throws away an average of 1.3 pounds of food scraps daily. In addition to this, yard trimmings and food waste combined make up 24 percent of the nation’s municipal solid waste stream.
Even if half of this can be diverted and recycled through composting, our daily trash levels could start to decrease.
Make The Cleanup Eco-Friendly Too!
Cleaning products get the job done, but at what cost? They can be responsible for around 10 percent of toxic exposures reported to poison control centers and are difficult to dispose of properly. You can most likely find nontoxic alternatives at your grocery store.
You can also purchase paper towels made of recycled content, but they become non-recyclable once you use them to clean the house. However, you can return to the pre-disposable days and use clean towels and sponges until they wear out. This creates less waste and saves you money on supplies.
Remember the broom and the mop? These cleaning classics are still pretty effective for getting your rooms to sparkle, and you don’t need to plug them in or charge batteries to power them.
So go forth and enjoy the summer!