Editor’s Note: Some content from this story appeared in an Earth911.com article on May 24, 2010. You can read it here.
What’s the best way to avoid the Eddie Cochran “Summertime Blues”? Throw a party of course!
Celebrate summer’s sweet inception by hosting the best (and greenest) shindig on the block. So, grab the karaoke mic, put on your party hat, dancing shoes and follow our green party tips.
1. Avoid paper invitations.
We know, there’s nothing quite like a personalized invitation in the mail. But stationary can cost a ton of money and use an unnecessary amount of resources. In fact, the Sierra Club estimates that about 900 million trees are cut down annually for the production of paper worldwide.
While you may think an online invitation isn’t quite as glam, it really is the newest trend in party planning.
Online invitation and social planning website evite has more than 22 million registered users and sends out more then 25,000 invitations each hour! Plus, you can create a design that’s perfect for your event. The website even offers eco-themed invitations.
2. Plan a local, compostable menu.
According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, “Produce in the U.S. travels, on average, 1,300 to 2,000 miles from farm to consumer.”
Buying from local vendors at places such as farmers’ markets cuts back on carbon emissions because fewer miles traveled from farm to table means fewer emissions produced from the vehicle transporting the food.
Take it a step further and prepare a low-waste meal by using natural ingredients that can be composted later.
3. Use energy-efficient lighting.
The best way to reduce your party’s footprint is to calculate its energy usage. The No. 1 way to avoid added costs to your electric bill is to utilize the outdoors – perfect lighting, temperature and truly inherent green setting.
But if weather just doesn’t permit, use energy-efficient lighting to illuminate your party. A CFL bulb uses 75 percent less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. Even better, upgrade to LED bulbs, which typically have a longer lifespan than traditional incandescents and CFLs.
4. Find decorations in your yard.
You don’t have to buy fancy paper lanterns or tasteful art for your next get-together. Beautiful decor can be found right outside your door. Cut tall grasses and place in a vase. Fill a glass jar with rocks and top it off with a candle. If you’re a gardener then it’s time to harvest those blooms! Use your old mugs or glass stemware for display.
5. Ask your guests to bring their own plate.
As an avid party host, it may seem off-putting to ask your guests to bring their own supplies. But the hodgepodge of different dishes can serve as talking points at your party. An added bonus: Turn it into a dish swap. Bring your own dish and leave with a different plate for your collection.
The same idea is great for glassware. Instead of charging a “keg fee,” a party-goer’s ticket is his or her own glass.