Your Guide to Eco-Conscious Summer Entertaining

With Summer comes longer, warmer days, and for many of us, that means BBQs and backyard parties with friends and family.

Having a get-together may not seem like a black hole for all things eco-friendly, but many party-throwers have a tendency to get a little wild with the food, service items, and decor, which can derail any semblance of sustainability. We’re glad to have you here, where we will get down to the brass tacks of eco-conscious summer entertaining.

Say Goodbye to Disposables

We get it. Throwing a huge party and then cleaning up a kitchen full of dishes is hardly anyone’s idea of a good time. But ditching the disposables is one of the easiest ways to transition your backyard boogie into a party Mother Nature would be proud of.

If you must have that quick and easy cleanup, VerTerra is making some beautifully stylish palm leaf dinnerware, balsa wood serving items, and wooden cutlery that is all sustainable and meant to be thrown out or composted after use.

Their products have been recognized by the Smithsonian, so if they’re good enough for a high-profile museum, they are good enough for your party!

Think About Drinks

The beverage bar is probably one of the most fun parts of any party menu for a host/hostess, and for good reason! We all need a thirst-quenching drink after putting the finishing touches on an entertaining spread. But think through all of the plastic you may be incorporating into your bar. It’s easy to see why you need to think about drinks.

Look for mixers in glass bottles or aluminum instead of plastic, get rid of plastic straws in favor of adorable cardboard ones, and think about what you’re serving.

We love the idea of bringing in local beers in growlers, making a gorgeous bowl of homemade sangria, and perhaps doing so with Bota Box wine, which has 100 percent recyclable packaging.

Abhor Decor

Of course hosts want the perfect ambiance for their guests, but try to steer clear of mass-produced decor that is cheap and wasteful. It will all end up in a landfill after your party anyway.

For eco-conscious summer entertaining, focus your attention on allowing the true natural beauty of your space to shine through! Think about items that you can reuse or repurpose, like strand lighting, new potted plants, or a solar-powered water feature. All of these items add visual appeal, but you can rely on them for years to come rather than tossing them out with Sunday’s garbage.

Go Paperless

It’s easy to become obsessed with creating the perfect invitation—birthday parties, baby announcements, and more. But once they arrive in the mail, we look at them briefly, perhaps remember to RSVP, and then toss them into the trash.

If you’re throwing a party this summer and want to keep things eco-friendly, go paperless. Sites like Paperless Post can have the same effect as a paper invitation, allowing you to customize your details and include photos. They also allow your guests to RSVP discreetly and easily with the click of a button versus a phone call or text.

Menus Matter

When it comes to setting the food menu for your event, the choices you make here matter too. Try to keep it local and seasonal, buying foods from a farmer’s market near your house or selecting items from the grocery store that are in season.

One of our favorite summer appetizers includes ruby red cherry tomatoes, vibrant green basil and bite-sized balls of ciliegine mozzarella. You can skewer these or spread them out on a platter like a salad.

Set Up a Recycling & Composting Station

Often, when people are planning an event, they fail to think about trash.

To really make an impact on your guests and let them know how much sustainability is important to you, set up a recycling and composting station alongside your waste receptacles. We love the idea of printing out and framing some instructions to help guests sort their items accordingly.

You could even make a quick announcement to guests as part of a toast, letting them know more about your commitment to the environment and how they can help! Whatever you do, label the receptacles clearly, and set them in places that are easy for guests to find.

Throwing a memorable party doesn’t have to entail unnecessary waste. We hope that these eco-conscious summer entertaining tips help you plan your next planet-friendly event.