The National Football League takes steps to make the Super Bowl green, but how can you do your part? If you’re hosting a party for the big game, help green the event by making your gathering as eco-friendly as possible. To help you do so, we’ve put together a list of eight simple tips for planning your green Super Bowl party.
1. Green your TV
Having a group of people watch a game together does save some energy, since only one TV will be on instead of many. Still, most people want to see a football game on a big screen. If you’re considering buying a new TV for your party, choose an energy-efficient model. Many televisions are Energy Star certified, and on average these models are 25 percent more energy efficient than other models.
If you do choose to buy a new TV, be sure to donate or recycle your old one. The EPA offers suggestions for where to do this, or you can search for local options here at Earth911.
2. Make food at home
Grocery store party platters and takeout can be tempting for options when hosting a party, but oftentimes these come with a lot of packaging. Pizza boxes especially can pose a recycling dilemma; if they have any grease or food residue on them, they can’t be recycled.
Consider seeking out some party food recipes that are easy to make ahead of time, like this list of vegetarian options. This can take a lot of packaging waste out of the equation, and if you buy ingredients in bulk, you can reduce packaging even more (and save money!).
3. Buy the greenest beverages
You can green the beverages at your Super Bowl party by making a couple of wise selections. First, buy in bulk; a two-liter bottle of soda yields fewer bottles and cans to deal with and often costs less, too. If you do opt for individually packaged drinks, select easy-to-recycle containers like cans that your guests are used to putting in the recycling bin.
Second, if there are local breweries in your area, try these brews. They have smaller carbon footprints because they haven’t traveled long distances. Some breweries also have green practices, so do a little research about beverage brands if you’re interested in supporting green businesses.
4. Opt for reusables
Disposable dinnerware may be the quickest to clean up after a party, but sending bags of trash to the landfill isn’t ideal for any party. Instead, try using your own plates and cups, or if you don’t have enough for a large group, ask friends to pitch in and bring their own.
If you’re worried about cups and glasses getting mixed up, try out one of Apartment Therapy’s handy suggestions for how to mark drink containers.
5. Make decorations yourself
Instead of buying one-time-use decorations for your party, go the DIY route. You might even be able to reuse materials you have lying around the house.
Some suggestions for repurposed decorations include football-themed silverware holders made from tomato or coffee cans and noise makers for the kids made from plastic bottles. You can also turn your table into a football field using just some white tape, no special tablecloth needed.
6. Encourage guests to carpool
To further reduce your party’s carbon footprint, encourage guests to carpool. If your residence offers limited parking, this suggestion can be practical as well. Some of your neighbors might be having people over to watch the game, too, making parking spaces scarce.
You can also provide directions to your home using public transit as a way of encouraging alternative modes of transportation.
7. Have clear recycling guidelines
One of the main reasons people don’t recycle on their own is because it’s inconvenient, so a simple way to ensure recyclables don’t end up in the trash at your gathering is to plan ahead. Have a designated place to recycle with clearly labeled trash and recycling bins. If your city requires you to separate glass or other specific materials, make sure it’s easy for your guests to know where to put what. This way everyone will be able to focus on the game and not what to do with their empty soda cans and beer bottles.
8. Don’t waste leftovers
When the game is over, assess the food situation before your guests head home. If you have more leftover snacks than you’ll be able to eat yourself, send some home with party attendees.
Also, make sure to put the leftovers in the refrigerator right away to prevent spoilage, or freeze them if you know they won’t get eaten right away.