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Graduation party green tips

Graduation season is upon us. While graduation parties can be an overwhelming task, here are a few simple, low-waste ideas to keep your party as green as possible.

Venues can be from the family home to a park, theater or church depending on your needs. If the party isn’t going to be held at your home, ask the venue staff about their management of recycling, composting and trash for your party. Stress your desire and need to have these items taken care of in the greenest way possible. You may have to set these stations up on your own, so be sure you know what is expected of you.

Invitations can be simply be creating an event on social media, or creating an evite invitation to email to friends and relatives. If you’d still like to send paper invitations out to the most important guests, or those who aren’t available through email, be sure to check for recycled paper options when buying your invitations, many companies have recycled paper stock options for you.

Decorations can be easy and simple at graduation parties.

  • Family photos of your graduate for guests to reminisce.
  • Buy potted plants that you can use in your garden after the party is done.
  • Reuse things like canning jars, and eclectic assortment of vases or dishes you have collected through the years.
  • Go to places like party rental stores or bridal consignment shops - they rent or sell decorative items including linens, vases, candles and silk flowers all at great prices.
  • Skip the balloons, they can be a large problem to our wildlife and waterways if they get broken or float away.

Servingware can be tricky - how do you serve a large group of people whose attendance numbers you aren’t sure of?

  • Borrow from friends and family. That can be a no cost item for your party.
  • Check with party rental stores for renting the items you need
  • Pick up some items from a local thrift shop.

Food and Drinks can help you with reducing the amount of throw-away items you need to buy for your celebration.

  • Plan out your menu for finger foods to eliminate the need for individual utensils.
  • Go to stores where you can buy your ingredients for your meals in bulk or large quantities.
  • Ordering bakery products or deli items ahead of time can also eliminate some of the plastic you would come home with if you bought buns by the dozen instead.

Recycling and Composting can be a learning experience for your guests.

  • Place containers to the side - out of the main traffic area for your guests to use with clearly marked containers.
  • Use different shaped containers to help distinguish disposal types.
  • Mark the top of your containers, as marking only the side will often times result in people putting things in the wrong container, even with the best of intentions.
  • Have family or friends bus your tables for you during your party, this can help with the proper separating of waste.

When the party is over be sure your clean-up is earth friendly too. Recycle and compost appropriately, share leftovers with family and friends, return unused items, and donate or sell items you’ll no longer use. Then put your feet up and relax. You did it!