Party Responsibly: Tips for Celebrating Sustainably
According to the Clean Air Council, every day 43,000 tons of foods
are thrown out in the United States, and each year Americans toss out
enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator
300 times. That's the bad news. The good news is that with a bit of
creativity and a little know-how, you can throw a fun, festive affair
without it taking a major toll on the environment.
For the month of December, thoughts of holiday parties and new year events are on the minds of most people. It is a time to share the warmth we feel toward others and to celebrate with people whose company we enjoy. When planning a party at work or at home, remember to be kind to the environment. With some planning, you can make it a waste-free event, where very little gets thrown away.
For work celebrations, ask coworkers to bring a fork, spoon, cup and plate from home. That way, everything can be washed and used again! Decorate your party headquarters with plants and when printing colorful decorations, be sure to print on the back side of paper (reuse copy paper). Be creative! If purchasing napkins or paper towels, make sure they are made from recycled content. Many stores carry paper products made from recycled content. Just look for the “green” option. Do not use balloons to decorate. Balloons are not environmentally friendly and can end up harming animals when found in the outdoors. And most importantly, remember to recycle as much as possible. Place those soda cans, glass jars and plastic bottles in recycle bins.
Other green party tips include:
- Use Aluminum Foil - Clean foil can be crumpled up and tossed into the recycling bin, making it a better option than plastic cling wrap. But, don't risk contaminating a load of recyclables: If your foil is covered in baked cheese and sauce, toss it in the trash.
- Carry a Tote - When you stock up on supplies, carry a reusable tote bag. Not only is it a less wasteful choice than plastic but it's stronger and helps you carry more.
- No Water Bottles - The United States goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil are required to manufacture them. At work and at home, use tap water or filtered water and fill pitchers, cups or mugs with the water.