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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Green Entertaining

This year the Academy Awards went green.

A pretty impressive move for the world's most high profile awards show and decadent after-party.

If Oscar can do it, then so can the rest of us. Being eco-conscious is simply a matter of making better decisions as we plan our parties.

Here are some easy tips for green entertaining:

Invitations
Traditional printing with petroleum based ink creates carcinogens, hazardous waste and pollution. Instead, choose post-consumer recycled paper and soy ink which is made from non-toxic soybean oil. And, when you can, send a digital invitation instead of paper.

Tableware
When you can't use real silverware and glassware, choose disposable products that are recyclable, biodegradable and made from unbleached materials. Whole Foods has a great selection of recycled paper products for entertaining from brands like Seventh Generation.

Lighting and Heating
The event planning factoid, "Every guest gives off the same heat as a 100 watt lightbulb," should no longer apply when you switch to compact florescent bulbs which produce 70% less heat and last 10 times longer. Keep you party cool by turning down the thermostat and using energy efficient lighting.

Food
Support local farms and design your menu with organic produce or hire a caterer that does like Lucid Food. Arrange for a food bank to pick up left-over food and drinks. Your gourmet buffet should not go to waste.

Garbage
Make it easy for your guests to recycle bottles and cans by setting aside separate bins near the garbage. It saves you from having to pick them out later.

Cleaning
If you pad needs a post-party cleaning, call Zen Home, an environmentally friendly service that only uses non-toxic natural products that are not hazardous to the health of your family and pets. They incorporate aromatherapy (which might help with your hang-over as well) and will even leave a piece of organic chocolate on your pillow.

Transportation
Pick a location that is easily accessible by mass transit. Or, hire OZOcar - a hybrid, luxury car service that has a fleet of Prius and Lexus models. Their cars use 70% less fuel than conventional town cars and yellow cabs. Your guests will enjoy the high speed wireless and Sirius satellite radio while you will rest easy that they got home safely.

Purchase
Offset the carbon emissions from your event by purchasing Green Tags from Bonneville Environmental Foundation to support development of renewable energy sources. Another great way to combat global warming while you plan your party is to apply for the Working Assets VISA card that plants trees and donates money to alternative energy groups every time you use it.

For more information on Green Living, check out Treehugger or The Lazy Environmentalist.

2 comments:

alannakkj said...

Love the post! While we can't all be 'noimpactman', its great to build up our retinue of little ways to be more environmentally friendly. On that note a couple of additional thoughts for entertaining... when going local, don't forget about the wine & flowers. Vintage New York is a great little wine shop that specializes in New York State wines (which have come a long way) - they have 2 locations, one on the UWS and one in Soho. For the flowers... well, I buy a lot more wine that flowers, so can't really suggest anywhere on this front - but as with the food, buy what is in season and locally grown.. I am sure the chelsea flower market is a great source.

Finally - on the cleaning front... while Zen is definitely the way to go for outsourcing your cleaning (I use them myself, and after having worked out the kinks of a new business, I am very happy with them)... but for those quick touch ups and the times when you just want to do a bit of cleaning yourself - here is a great link for 'recipes' to make your very own, and very green cleaning products - http://www.foodandstyle.com/recipes.htm (check the April link)

Jennifer Medley said...

Excellent ideas, Celia...NYC needs more green parties! One additional quickie: nontoxic (soy-based, petroleum-free) candles.