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Published on September 5th, 2008 | by Guest Contributor


5 Keys to Throwing an Eco-Fabulous Party

Hosting a low impact party is a breeze—it’s not only light on the planet’s resources, it’s also conserves your monetary resources with no fun shorted in the process.

Try these tips the next time you’re called upon to create a lively and casual atmosphere…


Digital lnvites

Take advantage of programs like Evite and My Punchbowl to advertise your shindig sans paper.  Or use the event application on Facebook and other social networking sites.

If you aren’t especially tech savvy and you’re planning to send invites by mail, be sure to use recycled paper designs.  You can even use wildflower seed invitations, which double as an invite and a party favor.  For a variety of designs, look into:


Encourage guests to get to the party in an eco friendly way by sending out a map of the party location with bus stops and bus routes noted in relationship to the location.  A map of bike routes might also appeal to some on your guest list.

Also encourage your guests to carpool.  As the host or hostess, help guests who live in the same area to connect by creating a map showing the concentration of guests by neighborhood.

Eats and Drinks

Serve organic beer and wine as well as appetizers made from organic ingredients.  Even better: Source these items locally to reduce the carbon emissions of groceries transported long distance.   If possible, support local farmers through a visit to the local farmers’ market.

To serve the food, use real cutlery instead of plastic.  If you don’t own enough, borrow from friends or rent from a party supply service.  Avoid plastic and paper plates by serving food on plates made of biodegradable materials such as corn or bagasse that comes from sugar cane fiber.  Look for brands like:

For a really fun and wild party atmosphere, serve only finger foods.

For post-party clean up, use absorbent cloths that can be laundered and used again and again.

For beverages containers, just as with plates and utensils, you can buy biodegradable versions.  However, instead of buying something that takes energy to manufacture and leaves a carbon trail from shopping and shipping, why not make your invites “BYOC” or “Bring Your Own Cup.”  Guests bring their own mug or wineglass and this way there isn’t any confusion about who had which glass or cup or any need for those wineglass charms.  Note: Exercise the BYOC request only with close friends, as some acquaintances might find it a bit too green for their taste.


For atmospheric lighting, use soy candles.  These are made from 100 percent soybeans, a renewable and sustainable resource.  Soy wax is non-toxic and the candles are completely biodegradable.  For an outdoor event, buy a set of solar yard lights and don’t forget to put them in prior to the party on a sunny day.

Use flowers from your own garden or the local farmer’s market for decoration.  You can even pot some of your own plants for party favors to encourage your guests to garden.  Wrap pots or vases in colorful scarves or scrap fabric.

For a tablecloth, use a quilt, rug, or pretty sheet you already have.  You can even use a painter’s cloth for that casual ‘linen’ look.

Music and Fun

Give your audio a ‘green theme’ by playing music from artists who support environmental causes.  To find out which musicians do what for the planet, read Grist’s 15 Green Musicians and Bands.

Alternatively, buy and play this Lindsay Tomasic single (Big World) or the Songs for a Better Planet album.  Profits from each play are donatedto environmental causes:

Include a green activity as part of the party entertainment.  Here are some ideas to get you started with a green theme:

  • Have guests throw food scraps into your compost pile and give a brief demonstration of how to set up their own compost.
  • Ask guests to wear only eco-friendly clothing to the party and put on an impromptu fashion show.
  • Ask guests to sign an environmental petition or letter to local government officials encouraging more care for the environment.
  • Cook some of the party food using a solar oven and explain how you did it.

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