Throwing an eco-chic party doesn’t mean that everyone sits around in Birkenstocks eating granola out of a bowl made from pine cones. Eco-Chic is about being earth friendly while being in touch with our glamorous side. There are many small things we can do in holiday planning that make a big difference on a global scale and save money as well. Think for a minute on how much disposable products we buy. How much money can be saved if we invest that money in products that will be used over and over instead of lying useless in a land fill? Follow my ideas below for creating a holiday party that is memorable, earth friendly and inspiring.
• Send invitations using recycled paper. Or better yet, use Evite for a truly environmentally friendly alternative.
• Use only cloth napkins. Nothing irritates me more that paper napkins. You can buy them at very affordable prices on eBay or at Home Goods. Buy twenty of thirty white napkins that can be used throughout the year and never again buy paper ones.
• Do not use paper plates. See the first bullet. Purchase a set of white ceramic plates at CB2 or Home Goods. These can be used anytime and white is a classic look that works well for any gathering. Add color by using charger plates or colorful napkin rings.
• Now that you have successfully avoided paper plates, take it one step further with silverware – never plastic. For larger dinner parties consider picking up another set of affordably priced silverware at Ross or Home Goods. If you don’t plan on using these between parties, simply add them to your holiday box ready for your next event.
• Avoid excess packaging by purchasing the food at a farmers market. Not only are you not using extra bags but you are buying locally grown and seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you do not live in area that has farmers markets that are geographically accessible than purchase seasonal vegetables at your grocery store and bring along plastic produce bags that you have saved to avoid using more plastic. (Which will be around longer than we will)? Try Eco-Bag and Amazon for reusable plastic produce bags.
• Are you exchanging gifts or presenting a gift to each guest? The obvious choice is to use gift bags which can be used over and over or avoid wrapping altogether and simply tie raffia around the gift and place it at each person’s place setting. Raffia is a renewable resource that is also compostable.
• Dinner isn’t complete without dessert and coffee -at least it isn’t in my home. Instead of using paper filters use a gold filter that can be washed over and over or keep a French press handy or an espresso maker; neither of these require a paper filter. If you insist on using a paper filter use the brown unbleached ones that are readily available in any grocery store. These can be composted and the grinds are a healthy addition to your garden.
• When cooking beef, poultry or fish always look for beef that is grass fed and organic, humanly raised chicken and always choose wild fish over farmed. Better yet make your dinner party vegetarian. Look for vegetarian holiday dishes on All Recipes.
• Add romance and intimacy with soy based candles which are better for air quality and do not leave any soot markings. Beeswax is another healthy alternative to ordinary wax candles which often are loaded with synthetic chemical based scent. Check out Etsy for a wide variety of soy and beeswax candles.
• And finally – at the end of the evening when a pile of dirty dishes beckons, clean up your kitchen with organic and chemical free cleaners. Look for products made by Seventh Generation, Method and Mrs. Meyers. Each of these companies offers products that contain essential oils and is phosphate free, leaving your home smelling healthy without chemical odors. And when purchasing cleaning products buy in the largest size possible to avoid excess packaging.
Have a safe, healthy and Earth-friendly holiday.