Blue bunting banner that reads, happy birthday, hanging from a tree with a wooden fence in the background.

Your Step-by-Step Guide for Eco-Friendly Party Planning

Hosting can be so rewarding but overwhelming at the same time. Between organizing refreshments, guests, and decor, sometimes sustainability gets lost. On average, Canadians produce 2.7 kg of garbage each day, and that number unfortunately grows when we are celebrating.

Here are a few eco-friendly party planning guidelines to limit waste & emissions

1. Rethink party decor

Whether you are going for a specific theme or just aesthetics, there are ways to make your decorating skills more eco-conscious. Finding an alternative to tried-and-true decorations can be tricky, but eco-friendly party decorations are out there! Try replacing plastic banners with plantable and biodegradable options.

DIYing or thrifting for decorations is also a great way to reduce waste, or you can use natural elements such as fresh or potted flowers, leaves, and even rocks to add texture to tablescapes. Not only is it good for the environment, but it also adds a personal touch to any party you are hosting. From birthdays to dinner parties, a sprinkle of uniqueness never hurt.

Recycled glass bottles hanging from a tree with twine with pink flowers inside the bottle

2. Thrift what you don’t have

Thrifting can seem daunting if you are new to it, but the home section is a great spot to start. If you need more serving platters or another pitcher, thrifting saves the environment and your wallet. There are so many additional things you could thrift, think table linens, candle sticks, or even plates (Who needs paper ones anyways)?

3. Normalize borrowing

No luck thrifting? No problem! Friends, family, or neighbors will have what you need — all you have to do is ask. Whether it be dishware, serving bowls, or even an outfit, there is no need to buy new ones.

4. Create thoughtful goodie bags, think edible treats or seed favors

While goodie bags are not super common for adult parties, the kiddos still appreciate them. The opportunities are endless! Try handing out locally-made snacks or making a craft that they can take home. For the kids at heart, something useful is the way to go. Seed favors or seed bombs are perfect to brighten someone’s home with wildflowers or herbs. (Maybe you’ll even inspire a new hobby!)

5. Choose waste-free invitations

There are so many ways to make your invites waste-free, even if you choose to opt for physical invites! If you’re interested in physical invitations, opt for recycled paper or plantable seed paper. They are fully customizable and have built-in RSVPs so you know how much food and drinks you will need.

6. Make sustainable food and beverage choices

Speaking of RSVPs, they can help you avoid food waste: knowing how many people to expect and whether they have any dietary restrictions is key to limiting waste. In addition, sourcing local and fresh food is the best, not only for the environment but also for your local businesses. Sourcing local and fresh food is the best because the longer the distance food travels, the greater the emissions. Be sure to also avoid single-serving items such as canned pops or juices and disposable plates/cutlery. Try making punch or fresh lemonade instead with reusable or compostable cups.

Bins of garbage, recycling, and compost in multicolored bags

7. Set up a compost and recycling station
Having a space for recycling that is not too far away from the fun will help you and your guests recycle drink cans and bottles. If you want to take it one step further, have two bins, one for each! Composting is where fresh and local food is important. Knowing what you can and can’t compost is tricky when you are first starting, but you can do it!

8. Host outdoors to minimize power usage

In the warmer months, it’s so nice out, why not host your party in the sun? It will save on your electricity bill, but it can also help inspire you in the decorating department. If you are hosting in the evening or at night, solar lights are a great addition. Using solar not only saves electricity but it adds a bit of whimsey to any space.

9. Consider the need for gifts

Parties are often a place for gifting, but not always. Setting expectations is crucial for removing some unneeded stress for your guests. You have the option to provide a list, it’s always appreciated, but if you want to go waste-free you have options as well. You could request guests to make a donation in your name or ask them to bring something for the party, like wine or dessert. Requesting unwrapped gifts or reusable bags only is another way to reduce some waste.

Planning with sustainability in mind is a transition we should all be working on, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Being mindful and making changes where you can has a bigger impact than you may think.


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