The arrival of summer weather is a great excuse to invite friends over. And hosts can not only enjoy Mother Nature, they can help preserve it, too. Fine Living offers some tips for having a "green" party that will leave a lighter carbon footprint on planet Earth:
¢ Skip the theme: Themes are cute, but those specialized paper plates, streamers, banners and decorations end up in the local landfill.
By buying wisely, you can make a huge impact. Glass and aluminum can be recycled into more glass bottles and aluminum cans, and the process never degrades the quality of the material. It can be reused over and over. Plastic is tougher to recycle, and the process of recycling breaks down the chemical structure of the plastic each time it's recycled, weakening the material. Plastic has a limited number of reuses.
If the guest list is so long you must use disposable dishes, look for biodegradable choices such as bowls and dishes made from recycled paper or a renewable resource like bamboo. If you must have -balloons, use ones made from recycled latex.
¢ Keep the food local and organic: Shop at your farmers market for fresh produce, and select organic wines and beers.
¢ Think multipurpose and repurpose: Look for things around your home that are reusable, such as using glass jugs as wine decanters.
¢ Bring your own serving pieces: If you hire a caterer, bring your own serving dishes to him or her before the party. That way, the caterer can place prepared food in your serving dishes. You'll eliminate the need for the Styrofoam or plastic trays used to transport the food to your party, packaging that will end up in a landfill.
¢ Skip the plastic wrap: Ask the caterer to use wax paper and aluminum foil. Wax paper is completely biodegradable. And, aluminum foil is recyclable as long as the food isn't baked or stuck on the foil.
¢ Rent decorations and dinnerware. Return them when you're done, instead of throwing them out. This can be one of the simplest green things that can be done for entertaining, and most affordable.
¢ Skip paper and plastic dinnerware: It's better to use your own dinnerware, serving pieces, utensils and glassware - and throw them in the dishwasher. Invest in a good inexpensive set of stainless eating utensils that can be used over and over. The energy a dishwasher uses to wash these items is more efficient than washing those dishes by hand. Using your china and glassware is one of the easiest and more convenient ways to entertain green.