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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Keeping Holiday Parties Green

Keeping Holiday Parties Green

Evgeny Karandaev/

Although the holidays are a season of joy, an estimated 2.9 billion pounds of extra trash is generated each year from items such as wrapping paper, food waste, packaging, returns and decorations. Let’s make this holiday season a time to remember that sustainability and fun can go hand in hand.

Send digital invitations. Save paper and reduce waste by embracing the digital era and sending electronic invitations. Online platforms offer stylish and customizable options for spreading holiday cheer while minimizing the environmental impact.

Choose sustainable decorations. Instead of buying disposable party decorations, opt for reusable and eco-friendly alternatives. Consider using natural elements, such as pine cones, branches and leaves, to create a rustic and festive atmosphere. Repurpose items from around the home, like mason jars or old wine bottles, and turn them into beautiful candle holders or festive centerpieces.

Wrap differently. Landfills add 2.3 million pounds of wrapping paper every year. Consider reusing old gift wrap or upcycling newspaper, maps or magazine pages. For a longer lasting option, invest in cloth wrappings. Remember to throw wrapping paper in the recycling bin as long as it doesn’t contain metallic, glitter or velvet elements.

Choose local and seasonal ingredients. By opting for locally sourced, organic produce, we support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation. Additionally, selecting ingredients that are in season ensures freshness and flavor.

Embrace sustainable tableware. Ditch the disposable plastic plates and cutlery and choose biodegradable or compostable alternatives. If there isn’t enough regular tableware for each guest, mix and match or borrow some from a neighbor. 

Conserve energy. Turn down the thermostat a few degrees to save energy. If it’s chilly outside, encourage guests to bring their own sweaters or blankets. Make use of natural light during the day and switch to energy-efficient LED light bulbs when the sun goes down.

Prepare a zero-waste menu. Plan the holiday menu carefully to avoid over-purchasing or overcooking. Ask guests to bring reusable containers for leftovers, which can be transformed into delicious new dishes or donated to food banks to help those in need. 

Compost. Instead of throwing food scraps into the trash, composting reduces landfill waste and creates nutrient-rich soil. Be sure to provide clearly marked recycling and compost bins to make it easy for guests to dispose of their waste properly.

Give sustainable party favors. Instead of traditional party favors that often go unused or end up in the trash, consider giving guests eco-friendly gifts. Reusable BPA-free water bottles, organic seeds or handmade products from local artisans will spread guilt-free cheer. Not only are these gifts more meaningful, they also serve as a reminder of the importance of sustainability.