Are you planning a New Year’s Eve shindig this year? Between food, decor, and transportation, New Year’s parties can add up to a lot of waste, but they don’t have to! With just a bit of planning, you can lower your party’s impact without sacrificing an ounce of fun.
1. Snacks and Drinks
No party would be complete without cocktails and something to nosh on. Hit up your local farmer’s market before planning your snack menu, so that you can base your recipes on what’s seasonal and local. If you can’t find enough local ingredients, go organic!
Drinks can have as much of an impact as food at your party, so stock up on organic booze and mixers. You can add a festive flair with a crock pot full of organic mulled wine or cider to warm up your guests on a chilly evening.
>>Next: Turn Down the Heat
2. Turn Down the Heat
Speaking of warm guests, all of those bodies in your house add up to free heat! There’s no need to crank the thermostat to keep your company warm. Instead, turn the heat down and let your friends and family’s body heat do the work for you. If things start to feel chilly, you can always throw on some dance music to get folks moving which will warm everyone up naturally.
>>Next: DIY Decor
3. DIY Decor
Instead of hitting the party store for decorations, why not whip up some recycled decor for your party? You can make your own fabric scrap banner to decorate walls, mantles, and doorways.
Martha Stewart has a great tutorial for making New Year’s streamers that would be easy to green up. Instead of card stock, snag some thin cardboard from your recycle bin. You can skip the toxic spray adhesive and paint your circles with white glue and cover in glitter for a shimmering effect that has a lower impact.
>>Next: Use Reusables
4. Use Reusables
Paper plates and plastic cups are convenient, but they’re also hard on the planet. Instead, treat your guests to reusable dishware at your party. You can make cleanup easy by setting up a designated place that they can deposit their dirty cups and plates.
The same thing goes for napkins. Set out cloth napkins at the buffet table and put a sign on a basket so folks know where dirties should go. Then, you can just dump the contents into the wash when the party’s over. Easy peasy!
You don’t even have to frame this one as an eco-option. If everyone takes the train or bus or even shares a cab to your party, there’s no need to have a designated driver!
When you send out invitations, encourage your guests to take transit, if possible. If you live near a bus or train station, you might even include transit directions to make this a more accessible option.
If folks can’t take public transportation, you can also suggest that they share a taxi rather than drive alone. They’ll be safer and more able to cut loose if they don’t have to worry about driving, and you’ll be helping them cut emissions at the same time!
Do you guys have any eco-friendly New Year’s party ideas that I missed? Share away in the comments!
Vegan Buffet. Creative Commons photo by suzettesuzette
Thermostat. Creative Commons photo by gcfairch
Bunting. Creative Commons photo by polkadotcreations
Cloth Napkin. Photo by Becky Striepe
Lego Train. Creative Commons photo by pmiaki