In this economy, there could be a summer spike in backyard birthday parties, Fourth of July events, barbecues, graduations, weddings and other celebrations. Since parties consume energy and resources, follow these Green Quick Fixes to host eco-wise, down-home gatherings.
1. Use online invitations or recycled paper invites and thank-you notes.
2. Encourage guests to take public transportation, carpool, bike or walk. Keep the dress code casual, and offer a place to change and relax. Spaceshare.com, Zimride.com and Evite.com feature carpool tools.
3. Purchase supplies from nearby farmers markets, growers and purveyors to keep the menu wholesome, local and to reduce your event’s carbon footprint. Numerous Web sites, including BuyFresh.org, list resources that can help you find what’s in season and as close as possible to home. Don’t forget your own garden!
4. To minimize store-bought ice, keep table food cold with a domestic trick. Prior to the event, take two glass nesting bowls, fill the bottom one with enough water to float the smaller bowl and freeze. Add a few sprigs of rosemary to the water for an earthy look.
5. Make extra ice early. Plastic food containers are great temporary storage. For the party, put out a large ice chest to avoid a continuous stream of guests at your freezer or automatic ice maker.
6. Instead of plastic wrap, cover food with attractive dishware and lids and use reusable table cards to note the item and ingredients.
7. For small gatherings, use outdoor dishware and run it through the dishwasher energy cycle as soon as the party ends. Borrow from a neighbor or friend if you need a few extra settings.