Eco-Party for Auntie’s Day, July 22!
Summer is all about the backyard party. From outdoor birthday celebrations to national holidays to old-fashioned family-and-friends cookouts to this year’s Auntie’s Day on Sunday, July 22, nothing says summer like eating and playing outdoors. But there's a little hitch: many backyard parties produce a sizable environmental footprint. The good news? We have some simple solutions to make your Auntie’s Day summer party sustainable.
Nix the Paper Invites
A formal invite isn't always necessary; but if it's a must for this year’s celebration, paper is not the only option. E-invitations can also be a lot of fun. There are a slew of websites that specialize in e-invites, with a variety of options for customization and tracking those RSVPs.
If you’re doing a smaller gathering, you could make your invite personal by taking the time to make a phone call to personally invite your guests to your home. Larger and casual events can easily be arranged by e-mail or on Facebook, which has an event feature that is great for inviting people to casual gatherings (and tracking who's coming, who might come, and who won't be making it).
By avoiding paper invites you're helping to conserve paper resources—either trees or recycled paper.
Ditch the Disposable
We've heard it all: disposable plates and cups are just so much easier—they don't break if dropped, clean-up is a breeze, and there are enough to go around. The last two points are also often applied to plastic cutlery. Well, we hate to break it to you, but none of those are good enough excuses for choosing disposable products.
Disposable products are made for single use, after which they're thrown away. They fill landfills, and plastic products take centuries to break down. In some areas, plastic cups, plates and/or cutlery can be recycled; but even that requires energy. All in all, disposable products are an eco-party no-no.
So, what can you do? A set of hard plastic plates that can be reused for next year’s Auntie’s Day is a worthwhile investment—after all, if you regularly host backyard parties, the cost of all those disposable products adds up. If you don't have enough plates for a large cookout, ask a few family members to bring their sets of plates so that you have enough to go around. You can also purchase inexpensive cutlery that you can save for outdoor parties—try clearance sections, discount home stores, and even local second-hand shops, which may sell mismatched cutlery in bundles for a very affordable price.
A party is no time to forgo healthy and sustainable eating. You can find organic fruits and vegetables at most supermarkets, and organic or range-fed beef is readily available. Yes, it will likely cost you more; but choosing organic is using your market power to support sustainable agriculture.
Fruits and vegetables are particularly important since most pesticides used on food crops are used to grow fruits and veggies. Supporting organic farmers helps reduce the overall demand for foods that have been sprayed with toxic pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides, which is better for the land and for people who live in rural areas. It also benefits your health because you can avoid exposure to toxic pesticide residue on fruits and vegetables.
By simply purchasing sustainable foods and avoiding paper invites and disposable products, you can make your next Auntie’s Day celebration a whole lot greener and healthier. Cheers!
Published: July 3, 2012