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7 Eco-Friendly Party Tips: Serving Ideas, Efficient Wine Coolers and More!

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Entertaining family and friends can create a lot of waste from paper plates, plastic cups and decorations. This doesn't have to be the case, just follow these simple tips and you can enjoy your parties without worrying about hurting the environment.

Invitations- First thing's first: the invites. Make sure you use invites made from recycled paper. If ordering them from a professional, ask that they use recycled paper.

Flower Accents- Did you know over 60% of flowers are imported from other countries? It is possible that these flowers have been sprayed with some very harzardous pesticides that can be harmful to your health! These flowers may also been grown by underpaid workers working in bad conditions.

  • To avoid supporting this industry, why not try faux flowers? Gone are the days of deplorable fake flowers you could spot a mile away.  These days, if you're know where to look, fake flowers can pass for the real thing. The even better upside is they're reusable so you'll save money in the long run, plus you're not contributing to flower butchery nor the very unsustainable flower industry.
  • However, if faux is not your thing, then get flowers from the local farmers market. You can even get great arrangements and settings out of potted plants and flowers. There's also the clever use of moss as decorative center pieces. Moss is not only cheap, sustainable, and uber chic - it can also be planted afterwards. 

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Lighting and Decor - One big aspect of party planning is how the party will look and the atmosphere that lighting and decorations will create. Rather than choosing blazing electric lights to illuminate the event, choose more environmentally friendly lighting.

  • Candles are the perfect choice, as they are both lovely and economical. You can also place them pretty much anywhere, just be careful they're not near something that is flammable and when the party is over don't forget to blow them out.
  • Also, you could try an outdoor firepit or indoor fireplace for affordable lightand heat. These come in many different shapes and sizes so you could choose one that is perfect for your space. They not only provide a romantically lit setting but they can also warm your space. So an outdoor fire pit can allow you to stay outdoors longer, not getting too cold as the sun sets.
  • Another option for lighting your outdoor area is a gas patio torch. These are great for lighting walkways so your guests can easily see where they're going.

Eco-Friendly Wine - Because it's not just about what you're using, but what you're consuming, try switching out your wine for one that is more Earth friendly.  There are three categories of eco-friendly wines: sustainable, organic, and biodynamic.

  • "Sustainable" means that the grapes were grown with few to no chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, thereby keeping the soil naturally nurtured.
  • Organic wines are grown in organically certified vineyards and are made without added sulfites.
  • Biodynamic winemaking goes way beyond organics. The farm is viewed in its entirety to as a living system. The soil used is treated with complex compost preparations (of course without chemicals or pesticides), including quartz, yarrow flowers, stinging nettle, and more. Biodynamic winemakers claim to have noted stronger, clearer, more vibrant tastes in their wines.

You can also store your wine in a more eco-friendly way. There are many compact wine cellars that use less energy and cost much less to run than conventional cooling options, portable wine coolers can also add a dash of sophistication to any party as they come in many stylish designs. You can easily find the best wine chiller for your needs by browing by category.

  • Price - if you're on a budget that your can find a great affordable model by shopping by price range. There are plenty of options out there for under $100.
  • Bottles - you can also shop for a unit based on the number of bottles it can hold. If you're only interested in storing a few then browse the under 10 selection. There is also a middle range that can hold 20-50 bottles and large capacity models that can hold from 50-100+!
  • Cooling zone - you can also find a wine cooler based on how many cooling zone you want. If you don't mind having all your wines at a single temperature then choose a single zone model. Other wise you can cool your whites and reds at seperate temperatures with a dual zone unit. Then there's even triple zone cooler for even more customized cooling.

Sustainable Serving - Party pieces are in the dozens when it comes to tableware. If you consider the glasses, dishes, knives, forks, bowls, and all the other little items used to create a smash hit setting, you quickly start to realize how much goes into entertaining.

  • In order to host not only your guests, but a more eco-friendly lifestyle, consider purchasing tableware made out of recycled materials. You can do a search on Etsy.com and find some great used dinnerware to purchase. Also, you'll be able to get some great ideas for using your old dinnerware to make some great decorations. Then when your friends ask where you got these items you'll be able to brag that you made them yourself!
  • Some other sustainable dinerware option are: cornware tableware, biodegradable sugarcane plates, or even biodegradable bambooware. These serving alternatives are not only green but far cheaper than buying 50 sets of "real" dishes to accommodate larger gatherings.
  • The same idea of sustainability extends to what you put on your dishes. Instead of buying your food from large commercial grocers (which involve high cost and resource use to grow and transport the food), try supporting your local grocers instead - or at least purchase organic foods from companies that support green business practices.

Ice Goes Eco - There's no point in wasting time, gas, paper and plastic by going to the store to purchase ice for your party. Rather, a sleek compact portable ice maker will quickly plunk down cube upon cube to keep drinks nice and cool.

You'll be amazed at how quickly some small models of ice machines can produce ice. For some units it's as quickly as 7 minutes. Also, some models can even let you select what shapes you would like - cubed, bullet and crescent are the most popular.

Hostess Gifts - Anyone that throws a great eco-party knows the trick to get people to see how chic eco can be. And any chic eco-hostess knows to lead by example even when attending other parties. When attending another bash, swap out your normal hostess gift for one that is earth-friendly.

The same goes for others who obey the rule of "do not go empty handed" - simply swap out the routine bouquet of flowers or bottle of wine with something eco-chic that shows off your cleverness and commitment to the environment.There are a ton of options between eco-jewelry, candles, home made gifts, and an array of sustainable gifts made from recycled materials.

But above all, here's the simplest rule for eco-entertaining: "Use what you have, and borrow what you don't".

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