Before you get too far into your event planning, consider its carbon footprint. Making your food event eco-friendly is not only a social responsibility; it’s also a good way to save some dough. Plus, consumers are making more environmentally conscious purchase decisions and greening your event could lead to more ticket sales.
Here are 15 steps:
1. Swap disposable for second hand. Instead of bottled water, use mason jars as glasses. Instead of buying imported tablecloths, scour the local thrift stores.
2. Do the math. Save money and reduce impact by carefully calculating the amounts of food, drinks and other goods. This will ensure you don’t have a lot of leftovers.
3. Make your guests aware of your environmental efforts. They’ll make more of an effort to use the proper receptacles and may leave inspired to take extra environmental measures in their own lives.
4. Carefully consider your location. Give your guests green travel options such as walking, biking or public transportation. Make it a goal to minimize fossil fuel used to transport event-goers.
5. Go local for food, flowers and linens. Not only will you support the local economy, by eliminating long-distance delivery, you’re reducing fossil fuel emissions.
6. Be choosy when it comes to food. Whenever possible, make sure your food is organic, seasonal, fair trade, no or low packaging and locally sourced.
7. Allow guests to pour their own water instead of filling glasses on the table. This will cut water waste.
8. Up-cycle as many objects as you can. Consignment shopping not only saves money, it ends the cycle of manufacturing. Buy your glasses, plates, silverware and other items from thrift stores or borrow them.
9. Avoid plastic items. Plastics are quite toxic to manufacture, petroleum-based, and aren’t biodegradable. If you need disposable silverware, try the eco-friendly versions made from compostable plants.
10. Limit the number of print materials to just what is absolutely necessary.
11. Hand out practical swag. Be sure any swag you hand out is durable, reusable and useful. The cost might be higher but definitely avoid cheap, throw-away trinkets.
12. Reduce paper waste with paperless invitations and ticket delivery methods.
13. Find charities that can use undistributed handouts, such as pencils and paper to schools.
14. Clearly mark recycling, food waste and trash receptacles. Make recycling, food waste and trash containers clearly marked and readily available
15. Allow your guests to go casual. When people have to dress formally, they will need their clothes dry-cleaned. Air-conditioning is a must for a black-tie event in the summer; allowing guests to dress comfortably eliminates the need for climate control.