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Ask Corina: The Five Simplest Ways to Green Any Event

What are some of the easiest/simplest ways to green a wedding or event if you have very little time or resources to devote to it?

If you don’t have a lot of money or a lot of time, here are five quick and easy steps you can take to green your special event. Personally I always start with the 3R’s:

1. Reduce the amount of stuff you purchase. Remember the golden rule of design: less is more. Don’t over purchase food or supplies for the party. This just adds to the waste—of natural resources and hard earned cash.

2. Reuse, or borrow where you can. I’ve planned a lot of weddings that incorporated antique tea cup collections, platters and plates, or a variety of flower vases and candlesticks all borrowed from family members happy to help. This not only adds a lovely chic look, but it also brings a warm and touching representation of family into the occasion.

3. Recycle whatever you can. In some cities recycling everything may be difficult, so just do your best. Set out separate containers to capture glass bottles, plastic, aluminum cans and after the event be sure to recycle the aluminum containers your caterer may have brought the food in this is often overlooked, and an important part of having a zero waste event! Remember, it takes 90% less energy to recycle an aluminum can than to make a new one.

4. Donate leftovers. This includes food, unopened drinks, decorations like live plants or flowers. These items will be happily accepted by nursing homes or shelters for the homeless. Check your local listings for organizations to support.

5. Consider offsetting the emissions of your event by having guests pay a suggested amount. At one event I produced, the hosts had a small, very attractive sign at the sign-in table which explained carbon offsets and their desire to make the event carbon neutral. They suggested a dollar amount each guest leave inside a designated box. For some this may seem too forward, but in this case it was successful because of the nature of the event and the creative way it was presented. I think you might be surprised to find that guests are thrilled to participate in such a unique suggestion that helps a great cause stopping global warming.


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