Green Success at a Holiday Party

Small but mighty green actions made our neighborhood watch group’s holiday party even more fun than it already would have been.

– We composted our food scraps. (Simple: I brought one of my 5-gallon plastic buckets and we used it to collect food scraps, which I took home and added to my compost.)

– We used reusable dishes, cups, and utensils; and cloth napkins. (Have been doing that for a while now. We have a set which one of the members keeps at her house.)

– The same member also generously takes care of washing the dishes and napkins. Since her whole house is powered by solar panels, that’s a green bonus.

– When someone mentioned decorations, and talked about going to the dollar mart for plastic tablecloths (the kind that generally don’t last beyond one use), I instead offered to bring Christmasy fabrics (from my huge collection of fabric scraps people hand down to me), and sprigs from my cedar tree. We arranged the fabric and greenery into mounds in the center of the table and added sparkly bells, mini drums, and other shiny/sparkly decorations (which were bought from the dollar mart but are reusable).

– The greenery got added to my compost collection bucket at the end of the night, and made a nice cover layer for the compost bin at home.

– We have banished bottled water. Instead, we offer a water cooler for people to fill those reusable cups from.

All of these actions are modest in themselves but they add up. Actually, they multiply, because at least a few of the couple dozen people at the party who were exposed to our “green practices” might try it themselves sometime. We made it look simple and fun (because it was). People like and copy things that are simple and fun.

Also, with reusables and “real stuff” (such as actual plant material) there’s an element of respect and reverence that people surely picked up on. Single-use plastics, styrofoam, etc., have become so ubiquitous that I don’t think we’re always conscious of how much they degrade the vibe of a mealtime or other event.

Every little thing you do has a potentially very big impact. Who knows? Maybe someone at your party will try this in their own home. Maybe they’ll make it a regular thing. Maybe someone will even be influenced to go on and start a green local business, like a mobile dishwashing trailer or a compost collection service (shout-out to O-Town Compost* here in my home state). And it all keeps multiplying out from there.

*Special note about O-town Compost, based in Orlando: They (actually it’s one guy, Charlie) handled the compost collection at the Florida Permaculture Convergence this past weekend. Now THAT was a high-volume job! A gathering of about 100 people chowing down all weekend on fresh organic produce, with all the professional dedication a conference of permaculturists can muster (which is a lot)!

Further Reading:

Article from Shareable, on how to start a community “party pack” of reusable dishes, cups, silverware, napkins.