10 Ways to Stay Eco-Friendly When Hosting

Keen to go green

We promise, it is possible to host sustainably and throw a party with keeping the environment in mind. Your guests will thank you, the turtles will thank you, and ultimately it just feels good. The better we host parties, just maybe the longer we will get to throw them. With even a few things you can change when hosting, small simple switches will have a lasting effect. Here are TEN ways to host sustainably. Remember, doing even just a little something is better than nothing. 

10 Ways To Be More Sustainable When Hosting

1. Flowers and produce

Farm to table everyday, flower edition.

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  • Fresh Florals: Take home your favorite bouquet from a local farmers market, a vendor, or a local nursery. Pick them fresh and wrap them in kraft paper rather than plastic. For how to wrap them simply and beautifully, try our DIY bouquet bar. Just jump to the arranging the bouquet part ;) 
  • Jars: Arrange the flowers in multiple jars around your party: Mason jars, mismatched, empty wine bottles, or carafes. Even one bloom stretching out of a carafe is decorative, rather than setting out full-on bouquets all over. 
  • Flowers as Favors: Instead of finding places to display the flowers after the party, opt to give them as gifts to your guests or donate them to a local nursing home. Bring some cheer to others around you, and you'll feel more cheer yourself. 
  • Backyard Beauty: Decorate with nature beyond flowers; your backyard has more to offer than you’d think. Greenery, branches, wildflowers, herbs, wild grasses etc. Take a look around, notice what colors fit your gathering's mood, and get to picking!
  • ~i.e. For an autumn party, pick the fall leaves, ...pumpkins (duh) maybe not from your backyard but still, we love them. 

2. Setting the table fit for a party (or any day)

You can do this with finesse, sans any Amazon cart shopping. Ready, go.

cute way to set a table
  • Tablecloth: A thin bedsheet will do what you need it to here. Or if you have a farmstyle table, why would you ever cover up that gorgeous piece? 
  • Table runner: Snag a second bedsheet—lightweight, a different texture like satin—and swirl it with texture down the length of the table. Lay out wide ribbons to add extra touches of decor.
  • Napkins: Use linen napkins instead of paper. Your guests will feel chic and will likely tell people about using linen at a house party until the end of time.
  • Table decor: Dress up the plates once you set them with a thoughtful napkin fold, a little greenery from your backyard, and a cute napkin ring. Remember: less is more.
Pro Tip: How to Fold Napkins

3. Tableware: Feat. the beauts you never use

Ultimately, the key here is to limit the amount of disposables. Which means finally breaking into that cupboard of glassware you potentially never touch. Maybe it's your grandma's, or maybe it was gifted to you, and when is a better time to take it out than when you are hosting guests? 

how to practice sustainability when hosting
  • Dinnerware: Take out those glass plates—whether your everyday or your specialty ones. Whichever you choose, they're surely not your guests' everyday!
  • Silverware: Set your kitchen silverware out, rather than plastic. Doesn’t everyone prefer cutting with a real knife anyway?
  • Glassware: Similar to dinnerware, choose from what you have. Or, in the spirit of being sustainable, have guests hold onto their glasses throughout the gathering. One water glass and one wine or cocktail glass should keep everyone covered. Consider having guests label glasses somehow. Or, set the table with mismatched glassware from the start. It adds a crafty Anthropologie-esque look to your table.

4. Food for thought & nourishment

Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect, and yet another (perhaps unexpected) way to use less… and enjoy more.

farmers market near me
  • Shop your local farmers market to cook up a delectable feast.
  • Try pre-set chef’s boxes aka Hello Fresh or Green Chef
  • Plant a garden and grow your fruits and veggies. There is nothing like eating the food you grew.
  • Support local and pre-order take-out from one of your favorite spots. Prepare your mouth to water at our tips and tricks to mastering take-out and giving it a presentation that is party-ready.
  • Have a leftover food plan ready to execute!
  • ~Encourage friends to take the leftovers home. Set out recylable kraft food boxes ready for guests to fill and take home. 
  • ~Deliver it to the homeless man or woman in town.
  • ~If you happen to have a lot leftover, donate to the local rescue mission.

5. Drinks & minimizing plastic

There is a way to practice sustainability while still prepping refreshing drinks, no cans required. We know sparkling water is all the rage these days (we love it too!) but let's reduce the amount of cans in a party setting simply by offering options other than canned sparkling water. 

  • Ditch the water bottles and plastic cups.
  • Bring out your own set of glassware, or pick up a cute set from the thrift store. 
  • Fill a pitcher with ice water to encourage guests to pour into glasses.  
  • Infuse water aka water with slices of cucumber, lemon, lime, orange, or berries. 
  • Serve lemonade with frozen fruit inside. 
  • If you are going to buy cans, buy aluminum because it is one of the most recyclable materials.
  • The night before your gathering, fill a big glass pitcher with water and steep ten tea bags in the water. Leave the pitcher outside in the sun, covered and hours later you will have fresh tea.

6. Invitations that love you back

While we truly do love a beautifully curated paper card in the mail... they almost always eventually end up in the trash.

  • Send a postcard invite, rather than a full envelope. A postcard is a cute trendy way to send something different, uses (less than) half the paper, and is a fun statement.
  • Cut out paper altogether and send a HiNote. It's like eVite, but with improved design. They're efficient, customizable, and totally modern.

7. Candles & diffusers to breathe deep

We know, we know... this one may sting the girl who has a candle for every season—but we have a secret for you. 

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Candles
  • Grab a box of beeswax candles and some cute vintage candle holders from the nearest thrift store. The center of your tables will be beautiful and simple, yet won't leave a large carbon footprint. We don’t need to leave a statement everywhere we go. 
  • If you use the candles to fill your home with their aroma, don't worry. Our next idea is just for you.
  • Of course, if you've got cupboards full of candles. we'd say it's more sustainable to set those out for your upcoming gatherings than try the new beeswax trend ;) 
Diffusers

Emit your most savored aroma with just water and essential oils. What we love about this is you can switch out the smell daily without having to wait until the candle runs out. Run to Young Living to pick some oils and throw them in a diffuser. Prepare for your home to receive repeated compliments. Rumor has it you can thank your diffuser.

8. Paper for giftwrap & decorations... Hint: Reuse it

You know the closets you've seen at your aunt's house that spills over with tissue paper, ribbons, wrapping paper, and all those other beautiful things? While we love an artfully wrapped present, we also delight in wrapping it with the environment in mind. Steer away from paper and watch your gift recipient's faces in awe when they don't even want to unwrap the beauty you've crafted.

what to do with magazines
  • Collect the packing material from packages over time. The cute pink bubble wrap envelope? Write the recipient's address on a blank sheet of paper, secure it with mailing tape over the old one, and you've got a darling package to repurpose.
  • Magazines: Whether it's Free People, Anthropologie, or Vogue, you can wrap a gift with gorgeous paper, completely one-of-a-kind. This finally makes use of the massive stacks of magazines you've saved for vision boarding. 
  • P.S. If you're still wanting to vision board, check out our mini-party with all the guidance you need. Party of one or ten, this has you covered. 
  • Utilize old sheets or linens from the thrift store to wrap gifts with: These can be especially cute for baby shower gifts! They look soft and cozy... just how the mama-to-be will want her nursery to feel.
  • Burlap or jute twine to add the finishing touch to gifts or use as napkin rings. Or, when you receive especially beautiful ribbons that you just know you can repurpose, there is no shame there!
  • Pick greenery from outside or flowers from your garden.

9. Waste, rubbish, call it what you like

If we all do a little bit more of our part, our disposal companies can help our environment stay that much cleaner, and last longer.

  • Set up three cans: trash, recyclable and compost. Label the bins so guests know what goes in each. This saves you time while saving the environment. 
  • When you opt to not use paper goods (plates, utensils, cups, even napkins if you want to go that far), you will be amazed by how much your waste amounts decrease!
  • Reuse as much paper, cardboard, and boxes as possible. See paper goods above. Worth reiterating.  

10. Gifts that keep on giving

Remember: The thought is far more valuable than the price. Here are a few places you can shop for gifts while still practicing sustainability, and keeping your bank account intact too.

how to host more sustainably
  • Thrift store 
  • Consignment store 
  • Gifts to give for every season: Guess which season cute seed packets fall in
  • Bake it: How much do you love a home-made treat? The limit does not exist, IMO.
  • Give experiences instead of things 
  • Spa day 
  • Museum 
  • A gift card to their favorite restaurant
  • Gifts you were gifted but haven’t used… and likely never will (we all have those;)
  • 21 Gifts to give your guests, in case you didn’t have enough options

Why to practice sustainability 

We know you can likely state a few reasons why this is important and we value it, but there are countless reasons why we should all practice sustainability in our everyday lives. Here are a few key reasons:

Environmental benefits

Sustainability practices help reduce the negative impact on the environment by reducing waste, conserving resources, and lowering carbon emissions. By doing so, you can help protect natural resources, preserve habitats and ecosystems, and reduce pollution. Paper goods, be gone!

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Economic benefits

Sustainability practices can help save money in the long run by reducing energy and water usage, minimizing waste, and lowering operational costs. In addition, businesses that prioritize sustainability are often viewed more favorably by consumers, which can lead to increased sales and revenue. So from a hosting point of view, think about how much you really do save when you use glassware rather than paper goods. And when your guests insist on washing your dishes, we say why not let them? 

Social benefits

Sustainability practices can improve social equity and human well-being by ensuring that resources are distributed fairly, minimizing the negative impact on vulnerable communities, and creating a healthier and safer living environment for all.

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Future benefits

By practicing sustainability, we can help ensure that future generations have access to the same resources and quality of life that we enjoy today. Sustainability is about finding a balance between meeting our current needs and preserving resources for future generations. So if anything, do it for the kids. You know that's a heartstring tugger. 

Overall, practicing sustainability is essential for protecting the planet, promoting economic stability, and ensuring social equity and well-being. It is an important responsibility for us all as individuals, businesses, and communities to do our part. In terms of hosting well and keeping the environment in mind, we hope you feel encouraged and inspired to live out these practices. You will reap the benefits, as will the environment, as will your electric bill, as will your children and their children. Now that's a sustainable practice.

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