As more and more people are going green in their own homes and lifestyle choices, why not include entertainment? For your next dinner party, try a green theme. Yes, some friends might be afraid you will make them eat tofu and cardboard or play Scrabble by the light of a solar lamp but this would be a great opportunity to show them how fun and easy it is to go green. Here are some ideas for keeping it fun and eco friendly.
* Invitations – This is an easy one in this day of Internet savvy and smart phones. Consider going informal and inviting your guests via electronic invitation. You can send an email invitation, a mobile invitation from your phone, or even a Facebook group invite.
* Green food – Choose local, seasonal food. If meat is on the menu, choose organic, grass-fed beef and free range, organic poultry and ham. If you can find locally-raised meat, that is also a good choice. For vegetarian menus, emphasize bean dips and whole grain dishes with fresh fruits and vegetables.
* Beverages – Serve organic, fair-trade wines, teas and coffee in re-usable cups and mugs. Avoid soft drinks, water or juice in plastic bottles or cans. Instead, serve home-made punch in re-usable cups and hot beverages in insulated pitchers. You can also get organic liquor and use real glasses. Also instead of pre-mixed drinks in plastic bottles or margaritas in plastic tubs buy glass bottles that can be recycled and channel your inner bartender. Having a stainless steel martini shaker and a Vita-Mix make it quite easy I might add. You could also ditch the alcohol altogether and make sparkling fruit smoothies.
* Decorations – Get creative with your decorations! Look to the outdoors for inspiration, and cut greens if it’s winter, fall foliage if it’s autumn, and flowers for a spring or summer party. Your local farmer’s market will have seasonal fruits and veggies that can make attractive centerpieces and decorations, such as colorful squash, cranberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. Just be sure you use the decorative foods and don’t throw them away – in fact, your guests could take some of them home as favors. You can even use live plants as decorations. I LOVE the look of wheat grass growing on kitchen counter tops and dining room tables.
* Lighting – Light your home and table with eco-friendly candles and LED lights, whether as regular-sized bulbs or in festive strings of mini bulbs. You can also get beeswax or soy candles and thrift store jars in various sizes. You can even decoupage the jars with left over holiday tissue paper first if you want colored lights.
* Compost – Don’t toss the leftovers! If your menu is vegetarian, leftovers can be composted. Ask your guests to put their veggie and fruit scraps into a designated bin.
Can you have fun and be green? I say yes, how about you?
This week I have been keeping an eye on my junk mail. After seeing all those plastic windows from junk mail envelopes on Beth Terry's plastic video I can't help it. Junk mail is a hugely wasteful practice and it is so unnecessary. I don't want that junk mail, do you? The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. Thankfully, there are things we can do to stop the waste and say no to junk mail.
1. Think twice before giving out information
Typically, you receive junk mail because someone, somewhere has sold or given your name and address to a marketing company or other businesses. When you give out personal information and have it entered into a database (such as when you apply for a library card, mail forwarding service, or credit card), request that the organization does not share your personal information with anyone.
Also in this category of informational caution are product registration cards, sweepstakes, raffles, and contests. The chances of winning these are actually tiny. What they really want is your address so they can sell it.
2. Don't let them follow you
If you move, don't fill out a change of address form at the post office. Just contact your friends, colleagues, and respectable businesses personally and let them know of your move. Otherwise, the junk mail will start showing up at your new residence shortly.
3. Send it back to them
Hehe… when I used to pay bills via check and envelope I would stuff the wasteful little fliers they put in with the bill and any junk mail they sent inside the provided envelope along with the paid bill. I figured they were responsible for getting rid of their own waste. Now that I pay all bills online I don't get to do that anymore. With other junk mailings that have return addresses I have also put Return to Sender and then stuck it back in the mail.
4. Have your information removed from mailing lists
You can contact the major marketers (such as the Direct Marketing Association) yourself, or save time and have someone else do the legwork for you. An organization that specializes in such help is 41pounds.org. For $41, or a little over $8 a year, 41pounds.org will remove your name from mailing lists for five years. When you get junk mail look for a number to call and ask that they stop sending you further mailings AND not sell your address to anyone.
Do you have a tip to share for reducing the volume of unwanted mail?
I just had to post about this amazing video I saw from Beth at My Plastic Free Life. It really shows how ANYONE can stop using and buying so much plastic. If Beth can do it (without any known superpowers) than surely we can to. It sure as heck motivated me to try even harder! Enjoy!
I have fallen in love with a new reusable bag. This one is more like a bag/basket hybrid and ever since I got one last month I have been using it non-stop. They are polyester bags (wish they were canvas), on an aluminum frame. Mine has an attached cover that zips around it to enclose the basket. It is super light too.
Here are some of the things I have already used it for:
Shopping the produce isles at the supermarket
Shopping at farmer’s markets
Using it to hold books at the library
Packing lunches for the zoo or a picnic
Holding towels and sunscreen at the public pool
Cleaning out miscellaneous junk from the car
Holding my other reusable bags in the trunk
Holding takeout so I don’t have to take a plastic bag home
I used to work in marketing and advertising and we printed a TON. We printed brochures, fliers, newsletters, direct mail, and all that jazz. Then of course we ordered out for some printing jobs too…like stationary and business cards. I used to go through 200 business cards a week sometimes. It amazes me know wasteful it all was. We had office challenges to find ways to cut spending but no challenges to green our office…I should email them and see if things have changed, LOL.
Nowadays there are green printing companies you can patronize for business cards, fliers, brochure printing, etc. I don’t have a need for any of that anymore but if I did I am so happy there are options. I would be sitting my old boss down and telling her we needed to go green with our printing and I’d be talking about how we could market this to attract conscious clientele and offset costs.
PSPrint is an environmentally conscious printing company that prints business cards, custom stickers, custom postcards, custom greeting cards, posters and more. They recycle all wasted paper and used soy based ink that emit fewer volatile organic compounds than petroleum inks. They are also involved with or members of several eco-friendly organizations. Now if only we could get more businesses on board with this!