Greener Ways to Throw a Party

Simple swaps you can make to make your celebrations more sustainable | Taste As You Go

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Over the past few months, I've been pretty upfront about the progress I'm making with my 40 Before 40 list. But I realized I haven't been as candid with my progress on taking the "less is more" approach in 2019. 

In today's post, I'll share some updates about my goal to "reduce household waste"... specifically how that goal inspired me to find greener ways to throw a party.

I have been making a concerted effort to make more sustainable choices for our family. (Thanks in large part to this company.) It's been easy making the smaller changes. A substitution here... A swap there... But when it came time to plan a joint birthday celebration for Stephen and Jonathan earlier this summer, I found myself stuck.

I remembered planning our sweet girl's birthday party back at the beginning of the year. We kept the theme simple and even reused some decorations from previous parties. But, somehow, we still managed to spend more money and generate more party waste than I would've liked.

I wanted to be more mindful and more intentional this time around.

Without further ado, here's where we turned to greener ways to throw a party.

Skip the theme.

For us, it was more important to enjoy our time with our guests than it was to plan a party around a theme. So we skipped right over that part of the planning process.

Limit the decorations.

Because we didn't have a theme for the party, it wasn't necessary for us to go all out with decorations. We hung a felt "Happy Birthday" banner that we bought when our son turned one on the mantel. Then we tied a birthday balloon to our mailbox to help our guests find our driveway.

But that was it.

At first, the house did feel bare. But we've never been the type of folks to decorate every square foot of our house for a party. At the end of the day, I was happy I didn't have to worry about taking down and/or throwing out decorations.

Go with vinyl.

We knew we wanted to cover the tables that would hold the food and the table we had open for people to sit and eat. But we didn't want to buy the disposable plastic kind. 

Instead, we invested in two vinyl tablecloths that we found at Aldi. You can wipe down a vinyl tablecloth if there's a spill. After the party, launder the vinyl tablecloth in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. 

Then you'll be all set for your next event!

Choose reusable products.

I know there are a ton of great sustainable party supplies out there. You'll find biodegradable products and compostable products. Some of these products even feature super cute designs and patterns. But for us, it didn't make sense to spend money on those things since we would still be disposing of them.

Instead, we invested in several sets of white Corelle plates.

Stack of White Corelle Dinner Plates | Taste As You Go

Corelle plates are lightweight, break-resistant, and scratch-resistant... All great selling points for us since we have two young kids in the house. They are also microwave-safe and dishwasher-safe.

To go with our reusable party plates, we opted to use real silverware instead of plastic utensils. Our plan was to pick up some mismatched sets from the local thrift store, but we actually didn't find any. Thanks to my in-laws for stepping in and bringing us some of their extra cutlery that they didn't need! Because we weren't planning our party around a theme, it didn't matter that the cutlery didn't match.

Now I know what you're going to say. Disposable party supplies make the clean-up process go a lot faster. It'll cost more to run the dishwasher to wash all those dishes. Well, where we live, we don't pay for water and our dishwasher is on the newer side so it runs pretty efficiently. So, in our eyes, going this route is worth it. Making this investment upfront means not having to buy more party supplies down the road.

We didn't stop there.

Stainless Steel Cups | Taste As You Go

We also invested in some stainless steel cups to avoid buying (and throwing away) plastic cups. Our guests were free to take a cup, label it with their name, and use that same cup throughout the party. And at the end of the party the dirty cups went into the dishwasher, as well.

I didn't get to put in place all the greener choices I wanted to by the time the party rolled around... (like linen napkins instead of paper)... but I'm happy with the progress we've made. We managed to keep the party trash down to one bag. Only one! And we inspired some of our guests to make similar changes.

What about you? What sustainable products do you use when you entertain?


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