Entertaining Basics – Go Green!

I absolutely looove entertaining, but I am also an advocate of trying to live a greener, more environmentally friendly life.  Although these two agendas can sometimes be at odds with each other, I’ve learned some ways to accomplish both goals.  With Earth Day coming up this weekend, I thought I’d share some of my ideas with you!

#1 – REDUCE your Waste by Investing in Serving Ware  Throwing away loads of plates, cups and cutlery at the end of a party can fill up trash bags sooo quickly.  Not only is this practice adding to landfills, it makes me feel as though I’m throwing away money on items that are one-time use only.  So when I started entertaining regularly, I decided that at each event I would invest in one set of serving ware that I’d be able to use over and over again.  After just a few events, I found myself pretty well stocked with the essentials and now have small plates and glasses for 36.  Our plates are from World Market and our “glasses” are actually wide mouth pint mason jars, but serving ware can be found in abundance at Goodwill and Salvation Army, estate and yard sales, and restaurant supply stores.  I do recommend shopping white for versatility, but you’d be surprised how many options you can still find!  If you *must* purchase disposables, try to purchase items that can be recycled or are biodegradeable.  For my good friend’s Champagne Birthday Party, she invested in champagne flutes from Ikea at only 83 cents apiece!  A fantastic price for something she can use forever.

#2 – RE-USE your “Trash”  So many items that are headed to the trash bin instead can be re-purposed for parties.  A coat of paint,  covering them in fabric or even uncovering their wrappers can expose an entirely new item.  Tin cans, shoe boxes, even toilet paper rolls can be utilized for crafts and activities or decor elements.  Don’t believe me?  A quick Google or Pinterest search will yield LOTS of specific ideas!  For my Woodland Fairy Birthday Party, I collected jars to use as flower vases in the centerpieces…spaghetti sauce jars, to be exact!  Mr. Lemon thought I was crazy, but even he admitted they looked great on the table, and I don’t think anyone was the wiser (it’s the jar on the left!).

#3 – RECYCLE Decor for Multiple Events  For themed events, it is easy to go overboard on a specific theme and purchase items that wouldn’t easily translate into other events.  I try to focus my purchases on a theme’s color scheme to ensure that I will be able to use the elements again.  The specific theme can still be highlighted through a few, focused elements and themed printables (recycle them afterwards!).  When buying items, try to think about what other themes they could be used for.  Red striped fabric, for example, would work for Valentine’s Day as well as Pirate, Circus or Baseball themed parties.  At the ABC Birthday Party, I purchased brightly colored fabric to use as the tablecloth.  The colors and animals coordinated for this party, but the fabric would easily transition into jungle or zoo themed parties too.

What do you do to “green” your parties?

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