As the holidays approach, social gatherings and merry-making with family, friends, colleagues and others will abound. While we all enjoy festive parties, however, the waste generated during the holidays - including trash from holiday celebrations - is 25% greater than waste generated any other time of year, having severe consequences for the environment.
The type of party waste and the negative effects on the environment that they create runs the gamut. Single-use plastic party items such as cups, plates, and utensils take hundreds of years to break down, filling landfills and oceans with non-biodegradable waste. Parties also typically consist of large quantities of food waste and energy usage from additional holiday lighting, heating, or air conditioning, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and exacerbates climate change.
You can plan an party for all to enjoy that is also kind to the environment. Below are some ideas on how to throw an eco-friendly holiday party during the holidays and year-round:
If hosting somewhere beside your home, choose an eco-friendly venue with sustainability practices, such as recycling and energy-efficient facilities
Send digital invitations instead of paper ones to reduce paper waste
Encourage carpooling or the use of public transportation to minimize carbon emissions from guests' travel
Decorate with reusable items like cloth tablecloths, napkins, and sustainable decorations made from recycled materials. Or alternatively, rent materials from a local party store
To maximize energy efficiency, use LED lights and create an atmosphere that’s inviting but not overly bright
Be thoughtful in your menu, opting for local, seasonal, and organic ingredients that you know your guests will consume when possible, and in the amount of food you buy to avoid food waste
Use dinnerware and glassware that’s reusable or biodegradable instead of single-use plastics
Set up clearly marked recycling and compost bins throughout the party venue to encourage responsible waste disposal
Consider donating excess food to local food banks or composting food scraps to divert them from landfills
Engage volunteers or hire a responsible waste management company to ensure proper waste sorting and disposal after the event
Celebrate responsibly and enjoy your parties while safeguarding our world. Happy Holidays!