Everyone loves a party and as an event cleaning company, we take part in bringing about the success of all manner of celebrations—product launches, sporting competitions, weddings, fundraising galas, outdoor fairs and festivals, awards shows, concerts, and cultural events. But one hazard of the trade is the excessive amounts of waste, particularly plastic, non-biodegradable waste, generated by large scale events.
Thankfully there are more and more sustainable options to address this issue. How do you green your party? Here are some ways to help planet earth while you are also getting your groove on.
In the paper versus pixel invite fight, it's hard to argue that neither creates a carbon footprint. Your computer uses energy just to run. But while many paper mills use sustainable forests and post-consumer recyclable materials that don't contribute to deforestation and allow for some carbon sequestration, the fossil fuels used to produce, ship, and deliver the paper far outweigh your Evite's footprint. Also there is the issues of inks. Water, soy, and Vegetable based inks are making a name for themselves, but most printer inks contain volatile organic compounds and heavy metals that can pollute both soil and underground waterways. Unless the invite is produced as a keepsake, digital is the way to go.
Paper not plastic. Bamboo utensils, reusable or paper plates, and going the no straws route all reduce the extent of plastic garbage. Also think about reusable glassware instead of plastic bottles. And avoid plasticized, pre-made food. Those single use plastic lids and containers aren't reusable and often wind up in landfills and the ocean. Plastic takes thousands of years to degrade and in the meanwhile breaks down into microbeads which affects wildlife, our water supply, and additionally, our health. Most plastic is now burned in third world countries and these burn pits lend themselves to lethal lung disorders and cancers in disadvantaged communities. And only about 9% of all plastic that has ever been made is actually recycled.
Factory farming is the second worst culprit for carbon production on the planet, after energy production. The methane gas from the animals' defecation, plus the toxicity and acidity of their urine tripled with the carbon cost of packaging and shipping meat products all over the world contribute to how terrible this industry is for the environment. Not to mention that working in a slaughterhouse is one of the worst and most dangerous job for human beings, many of whom suffer physique-altering injuries and who are often treated like slave labor while doing their jobs. Consider going for a locally-sourced (if possible) plant-based menu. There are plenty of chefs and catering companies who are doing new and interesting things with veg-friendly foods. Check out Matthew Kenney, Daniel Humm, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Tal Ronnen, and Gaz Oakley are just a handful of chefs who have turned vegan dining into an art form both for the plate and the palate.
Have a food plan. Compost your scraps, and look to an organization like Feeding America or Food Pantries which post lists of food banks where you can donate uneaten food that's still good. Leftover food waste contributes to methane gas production as it biodegrades in landfills, contributing to our carbon footprint. Also, there are many homeless and low income people struggling to find enough food to eat who would benefit from your leftovers.
Consider non-plastic party decor. Latex and mylar balloons pose a threat to wildlife and don't decompose easily. Flowers are admittedly more costly, but they are also renewable and beautiful. Paper not plastic should be your guiding mantra.
Lastly, use green cleaning products to clean and disinfect. White vinegar, baking soda, Simple Green, and compostable garbage bags all contribute to making your party green. Zero waste should be your guiding ethos even if you are likely to fall a bit short. PopUP CleanUP uses green cleaning products wherever and whenever possible. We offer pre, live, and post event cleaning as well as porter services and some decor setup and breakdown work.