Today, as you are no doubt aware, is Cinco de Mayo. It also happens to be my birthday. This has me thinking about celebrating.
When you think about environmentalists, parties probably aren't the first image that pops into your mind. However, those of us who are making an effort to live sustainably still like to have a good time. The question is how to celebrate in a mindful way. This isn't about taking all the fun out of your party. It's about making sure that your birthday doesn't cost the planet any more than is absolutely necessary. Here are my four tips for greening your celebration while you keep the good times rolling.
Four Tips for Greening Your Celebration
1. Choose Organic Alcoholic BeveragesWhen you buy organic, you know that the the products that are going into the beverage you're sipping are free from chemical residues from fertilizers and pesticides. I, for one, don't want to sip weed killer along with my glass of chardonnay. It's not just you who benefits, though. Organic farming keeps those same chemicals out of the air and water, protecting farmers, farm workers, plants, animals and insects. And as more and more people go organic, great organic beer, wine and spirits are getting easier to come by.
2. Think Reusable and CompostableIf you can, choose reusable dishes and decorations for your celebration. You can always ask a friend to bring over some cutlery and plates if you don't have enough. If the idea of having to wash the dishes will strip all the fun out of your party, look for compostable party gear. Paper plates and cups and wooden cutlery will all readily biodegrade if you compost them, so that your party doesn't leave a lasting impact in the form of plastic that sits in the landfill forever.
3. Choose a Few Signature Dishes and DrinksKeeping things simple will make your party easier and more affordable. It will also reduce the amount of waste that you produce, and the amount of resources you consume. Pick a theme and serve a few signature dishes and one or two signature drinks alongside it. By going minimal you can choose what you're serving thoughtfully, and reduce the amount of time you have to spend preparing. Your celebration is going to be more fun for everyone if they can actually celebrate with you, because you're not stuck slaving away in the kitchen trying to feed an army with a wide variety of dishes.
4. Keep it LocalWhen you're shopping for your party, think local. By choosing locally-grown food, and locally-produced party supplies, you're reducing the carbon footprint of your party. You're also making it easier to ask questions and find out exactly how everything was created. Finally, you're supporting your local economy and building your local community. Getting in touch with the fabulous folks who are making amazing reusable cloth party banners, baking the best cakes or crafting to-die-for cheese is a great way to celebrate yourself and the place you call home.
What about you - how do you green your celebrations?