With a New Year to ring in, what better time to begin your sustainable efforts for 2020 than during an eco-conscious NYE party? Here are some of Inhabitat’s recommendations for how to enjoy the festivities in green ways.
For Earth-friendly food fare, offer fruits and vegetables as your smorgasbord. Source fruits and vegetables from your local farmer, farmers’ market or farm cooperative, or choose organic at the grocery store. For those guests who prefer a charcuterie board, choose vegan cheeses, and you can even find vegan jerky from FOREAL Foods Coconut Jerky, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, Primal Spirit Foods Meatless Jerky, Unisoy Wholesome Wonders Jerky and Watermelon Road Jerky.
Low- or zero-waste celebration
Go digital by opting for email invites rather than paper invitations. Rather than excessively decorating for the party, opt for simplicity. Also, when decorating, avoid glitter or synthetic confetti, beads and especially anything sparkly, for those excesses can wind their way into the ocean or the environment to disrupt wildlife and their habitats.
Try LED tea lights or soy candles to add more eco-conscious ambiance to your soiree without worrying too much about energy waste. If your celebration is being held outdoors, there are solar-powered lights, including fairy lights and garden lights, to set the scene for a celebration.
Plastic-free party planning
Rather than turning to unnecessary plastic decorations and party goods, choose sustainably sourced and biodegradable materials, such as bamboo, canvas, cloth, recycled paper or wood. Plastic-free decorations can be purchased at Bio & Chic, Botanical Paperworks and Eco Party Time. Paper lanterns and glass cloches are greener than balloons, too.
Organic cotton, bamboo fiber and other sustainable fabrics are lovely for any New Year’s Eve gathering. Use these fabrics to make bunting and banners. Even the photo booth can be decorated with fabric to supplement and enhance makeshift structures devised from cardboard boxes. Make sure to raid your local thrift store for secondhand or vintage costumes. There are always wooden pipes, wool scarves, top hats, cloth togas and other unusual apparel to entertain your guests as they pose for pictures at the photo booth.
Biodegradable or reusable serving utensils
Dinnerware can be eco-friendly, thanks to palm leaf, banana leaf, bamboo, sugarcane and paper products that are both recyclable and compostable. Some of these can be purchased through online stores like the Eco Products store, Susty Party and TreeChoice.
Choose real glasses over plastic cups. Not only is glassware eco-friendly, but it will certainly make your party guests feel classy and chic. If you don’t have quite enough glassware to cover your guest list, you can find more at your local thrift store.
Horns, shakers and noisemakers
No New Year’s Eve celebration is complete without noisemakers. How else will celebrants greet the New Year at midnight than with some form of triumphant, thunderous noise? For eco-friendly noisemakers, consider DIY versions of party horns, party blowers and rattles. For DIY rattles, stuff a metal container with coins, pencils or pebbles. For maracas, try raw beans or raw rice in wood containers.
If you don’t have time to go the DIY route, consider visiting a thrift shop or even a music store. There, you can look for bells, cabasas, castanets, chimes, claves, cymbals, egg shakers, gongs, harmonicas, recorders, tambourines, triangles, whistles, woodblocks and other percussion instruments.
Eco-friendly, functional party favors
To go the extra mile, some hosts like to provide party favors. Why not gift eco-friendly ones that are functional? For example, Burt’s Bees lip balm might be appropriate for those shy about chapped lips before the New Year’s midnight kiss. Accessorize guests in allergy-free, cruelty-free, faux fur and featherless boas from Happy Boa. Add in a vegan leather or wood keychain. Include seed packets and mini succulents to help guests cultivate their green thumbs in the New Year.
Organic champagne or sparkling cider
Before you pop the bubbly, check the labels. Find organic or biodynamic varieties of champagne and sparkling cider to serve guests, who will enjoy toasting to the new year in green style.
Alternatives to fireworks
Fireworks are harmful to nocturnal wildlife, especially migrating birds, insects, bats and more. The chemicals associated with fireworks also percolate into the water and soil, further harming ecosystems. Instead, replace fireworks with piñatas filled with vegan goodies. Another possibility is to have a light show indoors with DIY disco balls. There are also non-toxic bubbles that can be homemade from various recipes online.