Entertain In Style: 6 Eco-Friendly Party Ideas

We love entertaining (considering we are a catering company, this must come as a shock to you all…), but sometimes it can come at a hefty price, both for your wallet and for the environment! It breaks my heart when I see how many trash bags accumulate by the end of some of the parties we attend. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of ways to let mother nature in on the fun while cutting down on costs as well – here are our top 6 tips.

1. paperless or recycled Invitations

You’d be shocked to find out how many paper companies do not use recycled paper. Even some that do advertise being “made from recycled paper” only have a fraction of recycled materials in them. Now-a-days, there are so many options to bypass that whole process. Besides, who sends out snail mail anymore?

Sites like Paperless Post are great alternatives. PP is a step up from your average electronic invite site – they have really fresh and creative designs, and great features to keep you and your invitees in the loop, such as having an online guest list, posting to Facebook and Twitter, emailing attendees as a group and giving you updates when the party gets closer to the date. Don’t ever worry about your guests throwing out your expensive tree-killing invitations ever again! Even better, a lot of the cards are free.

If you have a very formal event, like a wedding, and electronic invites aren’t really an option, consider going to a letterpress who uses eco-luxe papers. Copper Willow Letterpress Design and Printing is our personal favorite – their paper is Green Seal Certified and tres chic. You don’t have to skimp on aesthetics to make mother nature happy!

2. Dispose of the disposables

Don’t worry, when I think about cleaning dishes after a party versus being lazy and just buying disposable cups and plates, I have to think about it for a second, too. But when I think about dropping a good amount of hard earned cash on paper plates (that probably aren’t recycled) or even worse, plastic plates (which, unless you are getting an eco brand, definitely aren’t recycled), it helps to make my decision just a little bit easier.

If you don’t have enough plates, silverware or glasses, ask a friend if they wouldn’t mind lending out their set for a night. If you go this route, be sure to mix up the dishes with each other to give you that fun, kitschy look. If you’re having a larger get together, there are great party rental companies out there that will rent out all that jazz for a pretty decent price (added bonus – you can return them dirty!). We love to use Classic Party Rentals, but there are all shapes and sizes of rental companies available.

3. local Food and Beverages

It’s so easy to go to the grocery store and pick up canned, boxed, processed and frozen foods, but – one, that’s kind of gross and your friends deserve better than that, and two, the carbon footprint those items have with all the packaging, manufacturing and traveling (20 bucks says your Doritos aren’t local…) make for some very un-eco-friendly snacks.

Instead of going to the grocery store, grab your reusable bags and head to your local farmers’ markets! Why not make a bomb crudités tower with some tie-dye mini-carrots with a homemade dressing instead? Grab some delicious fruits and herbs at the farmers’ market and make some great signature drinks.

For more ideas on producing eccentric munchies for a party, join us at one of our Hors D’oeuvres Cooking Classes at the Taste of Pace Show Kitchen.

Here is one of our favorite party recipes – a cocktail made with the best the farmer’s market can provide!

Pace’s Sweet and Sour Lemonade

  • vodka
  • strawberries
  • lemonade
  • basil
  • rhubarb bitters

4. Give the gift that keeps on giving

It pains me to see how much I spend on wrapping paper, especially during the holidays, just to see it tossed away. Next time you bring your host a gift, consider using your old paper shopping bags. You can just use the other side if the outside has writing on it, and then spice it up using some brightly colored fabric ribbons. Check out Copper Willow’s selection of unique recycled ribbons, too! Need some tips on gift wrapping? Check out this video of Pace getting schooled by gift-wrapping guru Wanda Wen of Soolip.

5. For decor, go to your local flower market

No matter what kind of party you’re throwing, flowers will always work. If you’re getting married and you need to order flowers in bulk, look into getting a local type of flower. Imported flowers have a huge carbon footprint – not only from the travel time, but they have to remain refrigerated, which is just one more reason to buy from the farmers’ market, your local flower mart (we love the Flower Mart in downtown Los Angeles— you can even buy wholesale!) or independently owned flower shop (support those small businesses!). Flowers are always the quickest way to jazz up a party setting.

6. Acquire a Few Pro Skills

For the best tips on throwing an awesome soiree, join us for our three-part Dinner Party Cooking Class series, complete with classes on Hors D’oeuvres, Entrees and Sides – and sprinkled with entertaining tips throughout!

See you there! Let us know you’re joining us from the Chalkboard community!

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