The silly season swooped in and caught many of us unaware this year. Some are blaming our over-zealous commitment to electronic communication for the speed at which 2012 flew by; others are waving copies of the Mayan calendar at anyone who will look at it. Whatever the reason, we’re now ensconced in that time of year that involves entertaining family and friends, and Project 90×2030 has put together some of the greenest way to get festive.
Start with your method of invitation. Greeting cards and written or printed invitations really aren’t necessary. If you can’t contact an invitee via sms, Facebook, Twitter, email, Whatsapp or BBM, then phone them.
In selecting a venue other than your own home, check on the establishment’s waste and energy policy upfront. The Heritage Programme rates hotels and other establishments according to their environmental impact, so ask for their Heritage rating.
Try to entertain outdoors or within a space uses natural light to reduce the energy requirement of your event. At this time of year in South Africa, we are blessed with an abundance of light and good weather. Think picnics, beach parties and braais!
A green menu is easy to achieve. Start with jugs of water (add ice, lemon, mint or cinnamon sticks for flavour) rather than bottled water. Remember, it takes three times the amount of water inside a bottle to create the plastic bottle that houses it, and plastic beverage bottles are one of the biggest contributors to landfill in South Africa. Select wines that are SWSA (Sustainable Wine South Africa) or BWI (Biodiversity & Wine Initiative) compliant. Try to do your food shopping at markets, with a focus on organic, free range, locally farmed and fair trade produce. Interestingly, free range turkey is close to impossible to find, but a lovely Christmas goose is a great alternative!
If you are using Mother Nature as your venue, décor becomes quite unnecessary. If you are decorating a table, try to avoid cut flowers and replace them with pretty potted herbs that you can give to your guests as presents. Making edible décor is also a great alternative. Gingerbread Christmas trees, popcorn strings, candy canes and colourful fruit baskets are just some ideas. Recycled glass jars filled with sweets to match your colour scheme will solve both your décor and desert dilemma. To reduce waste, use fabric napkins and reusable plates rather than paper ones.
Balloons have become a regular guest at many parties with very little awareness of where they go when the party is over. Deflated balloons pose a very real risk to animals, frequently appearing in autopsies of dolphins and other marine species. Balloons take many, many years to biodegrade so alternatives are preferable. Use fabric ribbon or bunting that can be used again and again.
Recycling baskets can become an attractive or funky feature with “tins / glass / plastic” labels so that you guests know what to do.
It’s been a long, tough year. Celebrate in gorgeous green style!