No matter which way you spin it, the holidays generate much more waste than any other time of year. The EPA estimates it’s about 25% more which is about an extra 1 million tons per week. YIKES, YOU GUYS. As a lover of get togethers and holiday parties myself, I thought it would be helpful for all of us to consider effective ways to cut back and be more mindful about the waste our festive bash is likely to create. The good news is that sustainability practices don’t need to sacrifice style — in fact, your décor and materials will likely make it even more beautiful. So after doing some digging I found some really great tips on how to throw a stylish and sustainable holiday party. Enjoy!
Make just enough food. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, the U.S. generates 3x as much food waste as we do during the whole year (about 34 million tons). This is due in large part to nervous mothers, aunts, and any variety of home cooks who are terrified their guests will go hungry. This is most likely not the case, like ever, so to help soothe your nerves and plan your perfect party use the dinner party menu calculator to calculate the perfect portion sizes for each guest by Divine Dinner Party. If you still find yourself with excess amount of leftovers, send it home with your guests or compost it properly.
Serve food with washable utensils and dinnerware. It’s always a good idea to avoid creating more waste. Yes, it’s a hassle to clean up, but with that aside, using real serving and flatware is simply more beautiful and makes things that much more special. *You can also rent plates, glasses, and utensils, too!
Use multi-purpose items. Using nice tea towels or cloth napkins in place of the disposable kind can help you create a beautiful tablescape when you place plates, bowls, and utensils on top. This way, you can use them as your napkins, placemats, and décor! It’s even perfect for clean up later. It’s also a good idea to ditch the nylon plastic or paper table cloths and employ a simple and neutral linen or cotton one instead.
Create ambiance with beeswax candles. Candles can be infinitely repurposed and reused to make any party perfectly festive and come to life. If you are eco-minded, buy candles made of beeswax. Why? As our friends at Pure Green Magazine so eloquently explain, “Beeswax is the only substance in nature that emits negative ions when burned, unlike other waxes and substances which create carbon in the air around you” and even better yet, “When you breathe in negative ions and they reach your bloodstream, they produce biochemical reactions that increase serotonin levels”. To create some low-waste, holiday décor with your beeswax candles, simply buy a large portion of whole cranberries from your market in bulk, fill up glass jars with water and dump the cranberries in (they’ll float) and carefully place a candle on top. Light it just as your guests arrive and enjoy how they’ll burn beautifully all night.
Be energy efficient. Set your twinkle lights to timers, use LED lights and bulbs and regulate your heat by turning down your thermostat (especially, if you have a lot of guests). It will help decrease carbon emissions and your energy bill. Don’t say I never did anything for you…
Second image source: lovelylife.se