10 Tips to green your New Year’s Party

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Start off your New Year on the right foot by following these simple suggestions to make your celebrations enviro-friendly. 1 . Cut down on paper and use technology. Email invitations or call people to invite them to your party. 2. Get organized with your transportation. Encourage friends coming to the party to use public transportation or car pool to cut down on their driving. If you have the room, invite people coming from far away to spend the night. 3. Avoid the paper products and instead use real cutlery, glasses and dishes for the party. You will have dishes to wash but think of the garbage you'll reduce. If you don't have enough glasses borrow from a neighbour or check with local caterers who will rent out glassware at a reasonable cost. 4. If you do need to go disposable then make sure everything is biodegradable. That means no plastic, Styrofoam or foil. There are lots of options available, including disposable dishes made out of potato starch that will decompose. Look for paper napkins that are at least 80 percent post-consumer recycled paper that are naturally brown or bleached. Seventh Generation sells some great green paper products. Read more about the available products in Keeping your plate green. 5. Decorate with LED lights and change your light bulbs in the house. Choose organic flowers with the VeriFlora certification and go with soy based or beeswax candles. They are a bit more expensive but worth the investment. Read more about organic flowers in our article An equitable bouquet. Find out more about enviro-friendly candles in our article Shedding light on polluting candles. 6. Lower the heat before guests arrive. You'll save energy and the extra body heat generated by guests will warm the room. 7. Serve locally grown, organic food whenever possible. If your budget is tight them go potluck and ask everyone to bring their favourite organic snack. Serve finger food so you don't need plastic plates and cutlery. Veggie dips, fruit and cheese are also great party food. 8. Serve local wine or organic wines that don't use harmful chemicals during farming. If available, pick up some organic liquor as well. Read more about organic spirits in our article Green your holiday toasts. 9. Set up recycling areas so people know where to put their cans, bottles and recyclables. Dedicate a garbage can for the task that is clearly labelled. Not only will it make it easier to clean up, you'll be reducing your garbage. 10. Cleanup with biodegradable cleaning supplies that a healthy. Who needs to be exposed to toxic chemicals after a night of partying? Remember to relax and have fun. Going green is a gradual process and if this is your first green party then do the best you can. Happy New Year! Maria Gonzales is a freelance writer based in San Diego.