Plastic cups are the symbol of parties and events. It makes it appearances at multiple corporate events from holiday parties to picnics to charity events. But did you know that a single plastic cup takes 450 years to decompose? It may be a cheap option but, the durability factor of the cup makes it resistant to decomposition and also releases toxic chemicals into the environment that harm animals. The Styrofoam plates you use at corporate picnics are also the fifth leading creators of hazardous waste, and the glitter found in some party decorations becomes dangerous toxic sludge when disposed of. So how do you host a corporate event without using these items or without hurting the environment? Here are some ways to plan an eco-friendly event that even your local environmental protection charities will approve of.
Choosing a venue is very important as the first step in planning an eco-friendly event. Many venues require you to use their caterers and their dinnerware, tablecloth, and decorations. If the venue has green-options this is great, but otherwise, you will need to find a location that will allow you to use your own eco-friendly products. It may also be smart to use your workplace as the venue or pick a place close to the office and encourage attendees to walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation to reduce their ecological footprint.
Send out e-invites and avoid any type or paper entry tickets or paper raffle tickets for prizes at the event. You can create electronic invitations through many online applications such as Celebrations.com or Evite. Many of these applications also let you scan tickets with a cell phone when guests arrive at the event. If you absolutely need identification at the event such as name tags, badges, or wristbands, opt for the recycled paper options. At the end of the night, you can also recollect badge holders and recycle them for future events.
Utensils, plates, tablecloths and food containers are the most environmentally harmful aspects of a party if the right material is not chosen. Stay clear from plastic at all costs. If its plausible, use glass tableware. It’s fancier and reusable, but sometimes not feasible depending on the event because of glass breaks. If reusable options are not available, opt for biodegradable products. Companies have now developed many different types of biodegradable dinnerware such as utensils made of wood, bamboo, and plant starch. There are even companies selling edible cups made of seaweed, fruits, and vegetables. Another eco-friendly option is to serve finger foods so that utensils are no longer necessary. Also, use aluminum foil to package leftovers instead of plastic containers.
As mentioned before, steer away from glitter. Use natural elements such as flowers, leaves, bamboo, and other plants to decorate your event. You can string flowers together to make wreaths or display them in nice mason jar glasses or glass bottles. When the party is over, you can give these decorations out to guests. At dinner tables, you can decorate with soy or beeswax candles which are not only made from a renewable resource but is also energy efficient as they burn longer than regular candles. You can also put these candles in paper lanterns or glass mason jars, which can both be reused multiple times.
Be sure to have recycling bins readily available throughout the venue. For any leftover foods, package them in aluminum foil rather than plastic containers or clingwrap. At the end of the night, save anything that can be reused for any future events so that you get the maximum environmentally value.