6 Tips for Eco-friendly Entertaining

Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled Paddle Serving Board

Whether you’re hosting an intimate soirée or warming your home with fifty of your closest friends, eco-friendly entertaining is within your reach.

Entertaining is often associated with excess. The emphasis is on luxuriant spreads served up with lashings of beer and wine. This doesn’t exactly sound eco-friendly…

However, despite prevailing propaganda (Kermit), being green is easier than you think. A few easy substitutions and a little planning can take your event from environmentally aggressive to eco-chic.

Here are six simple tips for eco-friendly entertaining. Reduce waste, save energy, and sleep easy knowing you’re doing your bit to help preserve the planet.

Rapee Toulouse Placemat
Rapee Toulouse Placemats, made from jute. Browse table linen online at Zanui.

The e-vite

Sending your guests an invitation adds a touch of old-world cordiality to your affair. But it doesn’t need to go by snail-mail to achieve nostalgic charm.

Paper-free invitations are both stylish and speedy. There are loads of gorgeous free templates on the interwebs to give your event personality. We like these summery invites from Paperless Post. Alternatively you can personalise your message and imagery using Smilebox.

If you’re hosting a more formal occasion, like a wedding, and you’d like to send a tangible invite, opt for recycled paper and reduce the impact on the planet.

Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled 2-Piece Salad Hand Servers
Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled Salad Hand Servers + Platters collection, made from food-safe bamboo, a natural resource that is grown sustainably. Browse servingware online at Zanui.

The eco-friendly menu

Your choice of cuisine is focal to eco-friendly entertaining. Replace gourmet global fare with fresh local produce. Plan your menu around in-season fruits and vegies, meat, eggs and dairy, then hunt down your ingredients at your local growers’/farmers’ markets.

Don’t forget your tote! (Australians use approx. 3.92 billion plastic bags each year. That’s over 10 million new bags being used every day.)*

Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled Paddle Serving Board 2
Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled Paddle Serving Board, made from sustainable bamboo. Browse servingware online at Zanui.

For a more ecological or ethical choice

Seek out organic and biodynamic groceries. Or consider going vegetarian for the night. The UN Livestock’s Long Shadow report found that “animal industries are one of the most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”.**

Make your own sangria or punch and rid your event of excessive drink packaging. Shrink your carbon footprint. It’s better for your pocket, palate and the planet.

*Statistics courtesy of Clean Up Australia. Read more here.
** Read more at The Sustainable Table here.

Living centrepieces from www.womangettingmarried.com Coastal inspired centrepieces made with organic materials from afloral.com
Living and coastal-inspired centrepieces from www.womangettingmarried.com and afloral.com. Browse soy candles online at Zanui.

Living centrepieces

Instead of cut flowers, dress your table with potted succulents, plants or baby trees. Wrap the bases with hessian or brown Kraft paper then tie them with jute and vintage lace ribbon for rustic-chic appeal.

If your heart is set on flowers, go faux. Artificial flowers and plants look fresh for the long-term. Soy candles displayed in glass vessels and vases are also great earth-friendly table decorations.

Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled
Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled Board Rectangular, Small, made from sustainable bamboo. Browse servingware online at Zanui.

Sustainable servingware

Aid Mother Nature by serving up your banquets on renewable resources, like rattan and bamboo platters and boards. There are some gorgeous bamboo-based dinner sets and servingware on the market.

Opt for recycled glass vases and jute placemats. These organic materials add textured character to your table settings.

Maxwell & Williams Ponto Dinner Set 16-Piece Dinner Set
Maxwell & Williams Ponto Dinner Set 16-Piece. Browse dinner sets online at Zanui.

Ixnay the disposables

No one likes having to face a kitchen crammed with dirty dishes and glassware at the end of the night. Especially when your shindig has been a smashing success. But did you know that we are the second highest producers of waste, per person, in the world?

The average Australian sends over 690 kilograms of waste to landfill each year. This yearly landfill waste is enough to cover the state of Victoria! Yikes. Only the US can beat our ability to generate rubbish.

Beg, borrow (or buy…) extra dinner sets, glasses and napkins. Then bribe your favourite minions into a clean-up afterparty with the promise of dessert wine.

Note: detergents, cleaning agents, and washing powders that are low in phosphates are better for the earth.**

*As reported by Clean Up Australia. Read more here.
**Care of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. Read more about caring for our water here.

Lifefactory Food Storage Containers
Lifefactory tempered glass food storage containers. Browse food storage online at Zanui.

Leftovers?

Did you know that Australia wastes over $8 billion of edible food each year. Over-catering looks so much less cool in this light. Plan reasonable portion sizes and try not to give in to the desire to make ALLLLL THE FOOOOOD.

Inevitably, you will end up with some leftovers. Store them in airtight containers rather than going to town with the cling wrap. Containers can be reused whilst cling wrap is landfill-bound.

Read more tips for safely storing your leftovers here.

Maxwell & Williams Little Jungle Oval, Donut and Orbit Terrariums Maxwell & Williams Bamboozled Boards
L to R: Maxwell & Williams Little Jungle Oval, Donut and Orbit Terrariums and Bamboozled Boards, online at Zanui.

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Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.