Organising any type of event, from a company gathering or birthday party, to a wedding or festival, can be a difficult but gratifying undertaking. You’ll always face challenges, no matter how well you plan, whether it’s due to scheduling problems or unforeseen charges. Keeping these events as eco-friendly as possible is another consideration, given that society as a whole is increasingly concerned about environmental issues.
As we juggle record-breaking heat waves with droughts, it seems more appropriate than ever to theme summer celebrations with the environment in mind. So for a sustainable smash hit, here’s three ways to make your summer party more eco-friendly.
Recycle what you can
Despite the climate crisis, recycling rates in the UK are still concerningly low, having dropped to under 50% in England. It’s inevitable to have leftovers and waste come the end of the party, but it’s a good idea to plan how you will recycle any food waste, drinks bottles, packaging and utensils after your event.
A good party should include plenty of refreshments, but empty bottles in particular can soon accumulate. It’s worthwhile to have separate waste bins to avoid disposal of precious recyclable materials — and to encourage your guests to clean up after themselves. For larger events, you might want to rely on a dedicated sustainable waste management company to help you out. Take Bywaters, for example, which provides its customers with special containers to help them manage their glass waste — which is then collected and sorted as part of its comprehensive recycling service.
Keep plastic off the guest list
As more and more of us reject unsustainable lifestyle choices and vow to go green, plastic has fallen very much out of favour, to say the least. Synonymous with climate change, three-quarters of people worldwide want single-use plastic to be banned outright.
When prepping for an event, consider sourcing (or better yet, making your own) eco-friendly decorations, such as FSC-approved paper chains, garlands and streamers. For balloons, unless you can be confident in their safe disposal, pop the idea of them entirely, as they have catastrophic effects on the environment. Though once a party staple, balloons often end up in the wrong places — rivers, sea beds and in the bodies of wild animals.
Serve up sustainably
Sorry meat-eaters, but for a truly sustainable summer gathering, a vegan menu is a must-have. Around one-third of methane emissions are a result of livestock rearing, which as a potent greenhouse gas, is a leading cause of global warming. On the flip-side, a plant-based diet is reportedly the most meaningful investment we can make to combat climate change — capable of shrinking our carbon footprint by an enormous 73%.
Don’t forget to also choose local and seasonal ingredients for fresher, more planet-friendly produce. For a quick refresh on what’s growing here in the UK, this handy list from the Vegetarian Society breaks it down month by month. Or, for inspiration, companies such as Odd Box specialise in “rescuing” leftover fruit and vegetables otherwise destined for landfills and delivering them to you — alongside a few moreish recipe suggestions.