How to Host a Green Event

Having a party? Follow these simple steps and find out how you can achieve the triple goals of saving money, serving better food and taking care of the planet. Just because you want to go "green", it doesn't mean you need to cut back on the good times. Green events still enable you to enjoy events and be healthy and environmentally-friendly at the same time.


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    Use washable plates and utensils. It is always best to use what can be reused again and again, so prefer crockery over disposables. Alternatively, many stores now carry recycled, compostable plates that will go right into your composter or can be thrown away. They biodegrade quickly so they won't take up landfill space. You can find sturdy plastic cutlery made from corn or other plant sources everywhere, or visit a thrift store and buy up big on old metallic cutlery just for your green events. Whether you use plastic or metallic cutlery, be sure to tell guests to put the cutlery in the wash and not the bin so that they can be reused many times. It helps to leave a container with water and suds in it for people to put their used cutlery straight in.
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    Go organic. Preservatives and substitutes like high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils aren't doing your body any good. Find certified organic food at most grocery stores. Better yet, find a farmer's market where you can talk to the farmer directly and ask questions about where your food came from. You can complement your fresh, organic food with a little organic wine! These days you don't need to be a sommelier to find a good bottle of organic vino. If you don't want to cater yourself, hire a local caterer who is well versed in using local, organic produce and supports the concept of sustainable dining.
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    Use cloth. Prefer cloth items instead of paper napkins. They last a long time, are easy to wash and guests enjoy them a lot more than paper napkins. There is also a natural tendency to be territorial about one's cloth napkin and use it throughout the night, whereas paper napkins are considered used up with one wipe and people have a tendency to reach for extra ones, thereby encouraging waste.
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    Use natural gas-powered grills. Unfortunately charcoal adds more than flavor to your food - charcoal could contain coal dust and sodium nitrate. The lighting fluid can make your food taste funny. The chemical effects of these products on your body and the environment are nothing to laugh about. Natural gas is the cleanest and the most energy-efficient method to barbecue. For an authentic wood flavor, soak a few hickory chips in water and throw them on the grill right before your food.
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    Rely on natural light. Go outdoors and leave the lights off for as long as possible. Rely on sunlight and beeswax candles for lighting.
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    Avoid theming a party. Unless you can theme your party creatively using items around the house already, it is a good idea to avoid purchasing extra items to make a theme, as these will be disposed of at the end of the event and will add to landfill. If you have items in your home that can create a theme, however, by all means use these to decorate and then put them back in their place after the event.
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    Get the guests sorting. Leave recycling bins and compost bins next to the garbage bin. That way, guests are obliged to consider their throwaway choices carefully. This also saves you from having to comb the garbage bin afterwards!
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    Consider providing live acoustic, rather than amplified, music.
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    Send out electronic invitations.


  • Give guests a copy of a book promoting sustainable living at the end of the event. This will let them take home some "food for thought" and may help them to grow their own alternatives to unsustainable living practices.
  • Take some responsibility to organize carpooling, even long before the event. This saves gas and, if designated drivers can be found, discourages drunk driving.
  • Consider not serving meat. The resources lost on producing an ounce of meat could far more efficiently be spent on foods lower on the food chain, and with far better nutritional content. Even the energy used on storing and cooking meat consumes far greater energy.
  • One-time use items like paper plates, plastic cups and utensils take a tremendous amount of resources to produce and dispose. Always prefer reusable over disposable. It takes about 250 years for one plastic cup to decompose in a landfill.
  • Check your local supermarket for organic produce to keep the costs down. If they don't carry organic items, ask the manager to start doing so (send a letter or speak with the manager in person).
  • If you issue invitations to your event, make sure they're recycled!
  • Green dining in restaurants is also becoming very popular. When you eat out, try to support these establishments in their endeavors to provide sustainable eating options.

Things You'll Need

  • Compostable plates
  • Cloth napkins
  • Metallic or plant-based utensils
  • Organic wine
  • Organic food
  • Gas grill

Sources and Citations

  • VideoJug A video of hosting a green event. Original source of article. Shared with permission and appreciation.

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