Repurpose and Recycle
Sounds simple right? It should be - but not labelling your recycling containers properly means guests will just throw everything in the bin. Clearly mark your bins. Make it easy to be green. You can send food leftovers to a charity to be repurposed for the homeless. You can recycle your flowers with Floral Angels who distribute them to nursing homes and hospitals.
Save trees. Send Digital Invites
Do you really need to send those physical invites? Consider the trees used to make the paper, the carbon footprint of delivery - and then think about how easy and convenient a digital invite can be. All the details are in one place - not left in the glovebox or pinned to the fridge. Creating a jazzy website is another possibility.
Use Biodegradable Dinner Sets
We know you weren’t planning to buy any single-use plastic. There are some truly classy alternatives around. Beautiful palm leaf or bamboo plates. Bamboo cutlery, compostable cups and biodegradable cocktail glasses. There is absolutely no excuse.
Don’t Over Feed Them
Snacks, canapes, starters, mains, supper, late night snacks. Over-catering is a common practice at events. Food in landfill causes methane emissions. Food waste contributes to startling waste stats: an estimated third of all food produced is lost or wasted. With these figures in mind, reconsider your food plan. Do your guests really need that extra burger at midnight? Can you replace any meal with a made-to-order element?
Keep It Local
This one decision can save you a huge carbon footprint. Think about the air miles for those avocados, the plastic used for those small packets of berries shipped from South Africa. Source a caterer who uses in-season, locally grown, sustainable produce - organic if possible. If you can go veggie then all the better. Meat is carbon-intense. Try smaller portions if you can’t do without and introduce vegan and vegetarian options.
This may sound counterintuitive but buying items in bulk rather than individually wrapped means less packaging. Identify the areas where you could consolidate. Magnums rather than single bottles. Kegs now come not just containing beer but with cocktails, soft drinks and wine inside them. And can be collected together to form a tap wall as seen below. And use kilner jars with water on the side for guests to help themselves to on the bar. Avoid those gimmicky mini-size snacks especially made for parties. Buy the full size versions and decant them.
Be Travel Smart
Transport to and from events accounts for 90% of its carbon footprint. Make your event as green as possible by choosing a location that is easy to get to with good transport links. Imagine if your guests could walk from the bus stop or train station? You’d cut down on countless taxi trips. Encourage car-sharing if they must drive. And supply transport advice - are there discounts available for early booking? Make it easy to be green with forward planning.
Buy Only What You Really Need - Instead Hire Locally
Planning ahead means you can make smart decisions about what you actually need and what can be replaced or hired. Do you really need to buy event carpet and tablecloths? Do you need that laminate sign to be made or can you use a projector? Use a local event hire company who will supply what you require and then take it away - creating zero waste.
Green energy is achievable at events - just look at The Croissant Neuf Summer Party - a family festival in Wales entirely run on solar energy. LED lights and sound equipment can be run on solar panels even in the UK.
Be An Inspiration
Let your guests know your intentions. Be a trailblazer for a zero-waste event. Share and promote your actions and inspire your guests to get on board. Tell them that you've planted a tree for them, ask them to take public transport and car-share where possible. Working and living sustainably requires thought and dedication - and a change in habits. Encourage people to start eco-habits of their own.
Make A Waste Plan
Go through your itinerary and account for each element you know will generate waste. Certain things are unavoidable - but do make a plan to deal with each element. The empty bottles and cans from the bar, the place names and signs, any décor which will not be reused, kitchen waste which can be composted. A green venue will take care of this but if you have dry hired you will need to attend to it yourself. If you’ve chosen recyclable or compostable materials at every step, then you should have pulled off an event with zero landfill.