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