Our Footprints

Four Ways to Make Parties Eco-Friendly

22 November 2020

Okay, I don’t want to be a party grinch, but will you not agree with me on this: I think parties are repetitive. Someone calls for a party, we all plan, we go to a place, we eat a few snacks, drink a few somethings, laugh and talk for an hour then come back home — a standard party (of course, there are variations). I believe that if something is repetitive, we should make an effort to make sure it’s better. So on this column of Our Footprints we will talk about four ways to make parties more eco-friendly.

1. Make a reusable party box

If you’re usually the one hosting parties or you’re someone who consistently is invited to parties, consider making a reusable party box to abandon the usage of plastic and paper disposable plates and cups. (pro tip: you could also rent out the box to your friends and family who might be hosting a party soon for that extra cash!)

Here is why this simple switch is important:

To make the white paper plates white, pulp from wood fibres must be bleached. These chlorine compounds are ranked as one of the most hazardous industrial chemicals and cause damages to the immune system in living organisms including humans. Additionally, paper plates are not recyclable unlike office paper and newsprint as they are contaminated with food and are disposed of at landfills where the biodegradation processes are slow.

2. Make conscious decisions on the decorations

When I first heard about DIY Leaf confetti, I was not sold. No way I would be cutting out leaves for hours to throw on someone’s face! But once I started making them, just to check out the hype, I realized that I could put a lot of leaves at once and the process was actually less time-consuming than going out to buy confetti.

Another idea is to make tissue paper pompoms instead of balloons! (you probably only have to make this once and save it in your party box)

Here is why this simple switch is important:

Harmful decorations such as glitters cause damage to the environment. When glitter is washed down the drain, it becomes microplastics, which are consumed by fish and other marine life and harm them. In other words, #glitter_is_over_party. Balloons are no good either, as they travel thousands of miles and can pollute the most pristine places. When they float in the sea or disposed of on land, they are mistaken for food and eaten by animals. Sea turtles, dolphins, and whales have been reported to have died from eating ribbons and strings that lead to entanglement in their bodies.

3. Have a food plan

I come from a south Asian family and what I am about to say might get me into trouble. Don’t put out all the food on display at once. Refill the plates when needed. This will reduce the amount of food wasted and it will make it easier for you to manage (because the food not eaten is already in the fridge, ready to be lunch the next day).

Here is why this simple switch is important:

Food waste adds an enormous strain on natural resources such as water, energy, land and fuel goes into making every loaf of bread or every bunch of banana that is bought. Furthermore, when these foods are wasted and disposed of, they make toxic greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming. It is estimated that about 11% of all greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system could be reduced if food waste is stopped.

4. Rethink gifts

I am a minimalist and I love having fewer tangibles (except books) in my room (issa thing people!). I love having fewer things to clean and knowing exactly where my things are located and I love having four to five sets of clothes (saves me money, saves me time). At this point, you might assume that I am a difficult person to find a gift for and that’s not true at all! I personally believe that we need to rethink gifts; it does not always have to be things wrapped in ribbons and coloured papers, it could simply be a handwritten note and a gift code to a spa, or a winery tour, or simply a note wishing my luck finding a job after hating on all these corporate companies on my column (a friend of mine wrote poetry dedicated to me on my last birthday and that was one of the sweetest gifts ever!). 

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