Embarking on the journey of organizing an eco-friendly party may seem like a formidable task, but worry not – we're here to guide you every step of the way with our comprehensive Eco-Friendly Event Planning Guide. Designed to alleviate the challenges of planning, this guide is your go-to resource for crafting a sustainable celebration that leaves a positive impact on both your guests and the environment.
In our guide, you'll find a wealth of information on various aspects of eco-friendly event planning, from practical tips to unique ideas that will set your gathering apart. We believe that small steps can lead to significant change, and implementing just a couple of ideas from this guide is already a substantial leap toward creating an eco-conscious event.
Join us on this inspiring journey where sustainability meets celebration, and discover how every thoughtful choice contributes to a greener world. Let's transform the way we gather and rejoice in the joy of creating events that echo our commitment to a more sustainable and mindful lifestyle!
1. Eco-friendly Party Menu
An eco-friendly party menu is planned by supporting local, organic (in some cases), and seasonal ingredients. Meat is minimized and instead, the menu includes fresh and delicious vegan and vegetarian options. Avoid processed foods.
If you are cooking your own menu, it can be overwhelming and that's why many fall into processed food options. But I can guarantee, there is a way to cook delicious food without falling into the trap of quick and easy that processed foods are offering. Find recipes that will give you a lot with minimal effort; like oven-roasted vegetables, boiled potatoes, deviled eggs, salads, cheese and cold cut boards, whole chicken or pork, etc. Think of foods that don't require to be warm to taste good. I guarantee that eventually, you will be surprised by how easy it is to make your own cooking!
After the party, leftover food is composted or donated. A fun way to donate the leftovers is to have small takeaway containers that guests can use to take some of your delicious makings to go.
Use portion sizes
Did you know that restaurants and catering companies rely on carefully calculated portion sizes and you can find those easily (and for free) online? If you are not already using this method I highly recommend implementing it when you are thinking about how much food to shop for your party.
And no, it's not embarrassing to run out of food, that means you were a really good chef! Have little notes next to the food "Please only take what you can eat to avoid food waste".
Think reusable serving plates and tableware, this is honestly the best way to eco party. If you must go with disposable options, look into our Etsy store for the eco-friendliest options in the market, we have at-home-compostable disposable plates, cutlery, and cups (no greenwashing, I promise!).
2. Eco-friendly Party Drinks
When it comes to drinks at parties, I think the biggest issue is cocktail decorations and where the drink is served from. Instead of buying those plastic cocktail stirrers or umbrellas, think about how you can make the cocktails look fancy with edible decorations. I love to personally go crazy with my cocktail decor, berries, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You can make impressive-looking and delicious drinks with edible decor!
Need a straw?
Plastic straws have been found in the strangest places during the past years and a lot of cities are already implementing new laws to ban plastic straws. Instead, a lot of restaurants are bringing in bio-plastic straws or paper straws. The bad news is that bioplastics are not very eco-friendly unless they are disposed of in industrial facilities, otherwise, they act in nature the same way as regular plastics. Then, paper straws, well we all know how annoying it is that half of your drink is mushy paper!
Instead of these two options, I highly recommend serving the cocktails and drinks without a straw. But if you must, check out our Etsy shop for edible (made with pasta!) and compostable straws!
Where are your beverages coming from?
Just like with food, the alcohol industry can be incredibly harmful to people and our precious planet. So you want to support small brands and sustainable businesses. When it comes to wine, you might want to look at biodynamic and organic wines.
If you are interested in knowing more about what biodynamic, sustainable, and organic means in wines, I would recommend starting with this article: Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable Wine Guide | Wine 101 (vinepair.com)
It's clear to say that balloons are not a suitable decoration for eco-friendly parties, so I always recommend avoiding them, at least minimizing them. Many think, paper decorations are the next best option when it comes to eco-parties, but I would say "not so fast my friends" because most of the paper decorations are covered with plastic so that they last longer. Another thing is that just replacing the material with another is not the best solution when we want to be sustainable. Think if we replace all the balloons with paper decorations, what would that do to the forests where the paper comes from? So we want to always think about REDUCING and REUSING when it comes to eco-friendly party decorations.
Eco-friendly party decoration is:
compostable, but remember to compost it and always be aware if the product is "at-home-compostable" or "compostable in industrial facilities". if you don't know the difference, check my blog, The Ultimate Guide to Disposable Party Supplies
reusable, when you actually reuse them!
upcycled from second-hand items, check out second-hand shops, Goodwill, or other local stores for second-hand items. Your imagination is the limit here, you can use so many things to decorate your party, lamps, glass jars, frames...
I love shopping for used party decor on Facebook marketplace, I really recommend checking it out for affordable party decorations
natural, think of leaves, sticks, pinecones, flowers...
Ah, this is one of my favorite parts after the party decorations, because you can do so many fun creative things to invite people to your party and keep it eco-friendly. I love the idea of surprising people already with the invitation process. When your guests are hyped about the upcoming party, they will actually show up and all your work will be rewarded. Plus, fewer leftovers when everyone actually shows up!
So, the pretty usual ways to send eco-friendly invitations are:
Handmade paper invitations, like seed paper or cotton paper
Then, if you really want to shine with your eco invitation:
Edible invitations! This requires a bit more coordination but it's such a fun idea. Have your local bakery bake some cookies or cupcakes with a printed QR code on top of the dessert. The QR code has a link to your party registration website for people to complete their registration for participation.
Upcycled invitations - upcycle second-hand findings into an invitation! You can use old magnets, cups, cutleries, plates, jars, or pots. You might have to include a little tag where you write the invitation. It's even better if you can have guests bring them back to the party so the items will have a double meaning. For example, purchase second-hand mugs, include inside a little note as a party invitation, and ask the guests to bring the mug to the party because it will be their drinking cup! After the party, remember to either donate the items back or have your guests keep them as a fun memory
Flowers are always a wonderful way to cheer people up but why not use them in the invitation process already? Especially, if you chose a theme with flowers! Send your guests individual flowers (if you have time, go pick up wildflowers), and hang a small tag that will have the QR code to the website for more information.
5. Party Favors
My first encouragement is to not have party favors. Save money, time, and unnecessary trash from our environment. To be honest, how many actually keep the party favors, or will they just throw them away after some time?
My second tip is instead of buying party favors with your name on them, think unselfishly about your guests and what they would keep for a long time. What would they really appreciate taking with them from the party? Even though the favors don't have personalization, your guests will always remember where they got it from, I'm sure!
Here are my party favor ideas:
Who doesn't like plants and flowers? Or even better, give your guests seeds in a pot and instructions on how to grow them, and use wording that goes with your party theme. Eg. For weddings: "Let love bloom", baby showers "Watch me grow", birthdays "You mean the bloom to me!". Pro tip: you can first use them as a party decoration!
Raise money for a charity. Show your guests you are serious about making the planet a better place and ask them to choose where they would like to donate the party favor budget, something that is meaningful for you. This is a great way to share with your guests a charity that you like to support and who knows, maybe they want to add some extra cash to the donation!
Edible party favors are always a fun treat, cupcakes, cookies, candy, and pastries.. make them look cute by paying special attention to the packaging but remember to avoid plastics. I like to make candy bags with reusable bags. Also, this is a great opportunity to support local and small businesses in your area.
Instead of material choose an experience, this needs a bit more imagination because the experience should be related to your party theme. Let's say you are throwing a movie-themed birthday party, perhaps you can give movie tickets as a party favor! Or if your theme is simply "eco-friendly" as a party favor give people a small guide book how to live more eco in their lives.
6. Waste Management
This sounds like a big word, but really it is just making sure you have a separate bin for your recyclable, compostable, trash, and any other trash you need to sort. Next to those bins I always recommend having clear signage for what goes where. Simply, list every single item so your guests can easily see where they are supposed to throw the trash. You will be surprised how many people panic when they arrive in front of the recycling bin and all of a sudden have to remember what can be recycled and what not. But hey, so many people just don't know and it's not easy stuff, so make it easy for them, this will give you a bigger success rate and save you from sorting the trash.
So, as part of your planning process, you should take a moment to list down all the trash your party will be creating. Plates, cups, cutlery, decoration, confetti etc., and then you will do research on how you dispose of those items correctly and then you divide those into compostable, recyclable, and trash.
The other way to save yourself from waste is to throw a so-called "zero waste party", meaning you will have everything rented and nothing is going to landfills after the party, not even food (compost).
7. Hire a professional
We love to party eco-style, so if you need help we are always happy to guide you along the way, even if you are not located in the same city. Throwing an eco party can be a lot of hours for researching, creative thinking, organizing, and coordinating which can easily be done via emails and phone calls and we are really good at stuff like that! So, if you want to save your precious time from all the above, don't hesitate to contact us for a quote.