We’ll admit that it can be tough to navigate what’s good and what’s bad in this crazy world of greenwashing and information overload, but you don't have to sacrifice sustainability to throw a great party. We have compiled a list of tips and also a list of our favourite eco-friendly brands to help “set the table” for your next soiree.
Let's start with some tips...
- We all love the feeling of a paper invitation, but going digital reduces waste (and is more likely to be opened by the recipient in this day and age!).
- Sites like Greenvelope, Blackbird, and Poply let you upload your custom design or tailor one of the pre-made templates and personalized digital envelopes.
- If you go the paper route, ensure invitations are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper, meaning no trees were cut down.
- Head to your local farmer’s market to find seasonal produce. Not only does this reduce your food miles and support local producers, but it is also a fun way to find interesting fruits and veggies that you can also include in your tablescape.
- When guests ask if they can bring something, say yes but on the condition that they bring something they already have. Maybe it’s fresh flowers from their garden or an opened bottle of perfectly good wine. It will lead to interesting conversations, reduce waste, and save your guests from purchasing something.
- Glitter, balloons, and plastic cutlery are the décor equivalent of those annoying guests who never leave. Using sustainable decorations that you already have adds a beautiful touch to your table, reduces waste, and promotes environmentally friendly practices.
Off the top of our head:
- We love to use potted plants for the table filled with mixed herbs.
- You know those paint swatches you collected when deciding what colour to paint your bedroom? Use them as table decor and drink tags, or write the ingredients of what is in the dish so guests don’t have to ask.
- Instead of buying flowers, take a walk outside and up your sustainable party game with whatever you can find outside
- Hole-punch fallen leaves for confetti.
- Use recycled materials such as old newspapers, magazines, or even glass jars to create unique decorations such as paper flowers or candle holders.
- We also love using Barbet cans to hold flowers or dried lavender springs.
- Hand washing is great if it's just a few, but running the dishwasher uses less water if you wait until it is full to run it.
- When purchasing dinnerware, make sure it is dishwasher-safe.
- To make your dishwashing even more eco-friendly, open the door of the dishwasher mid-cycle and allow dishes to air dry. Using the heat dry in the dishwasher uses a lot of electricity.
- Don’t let those veg tops and fruit peels go to waste! Try whipping up a fragrant pesto with those leftover carrot tops, beet greens, and celery leaves, turn stale bread into croutons or use leftover herbs to infuse olive oil.
- Set out a recycling bin or box where guests can dispose of empty cans and bottles as they finish. After the celebration, sort them according to your area's recycling guidelines.
- Use Aluminum Foil
- Clean foil can be crumpled and tossed into the recycling bin, making it a better option than plastic cling wrap. But don't risk contaminating a load of recyclables: If your foil is covered in baked cheese and sauce, toss it in the trash.
- No host wants to run out of food, but no host wants to get stuck with 50 leftover pigs in a blanket. Instead of tossing leftovers, have takeout containers ready to go.
- Serve Barbet and have guests drink out of the recyclable can.
- Reduce drinkware waste by serving drinks in popsicle form or using hollowed-out fruit as a cup.
- Throw a “leftover party” after the holidays and have guests bring their leftovers or have a potluck. Not only will it ensure enough food for everyone, but you know there will be at least one food everyone will enjoy. Plus, guests can take home their leftovers at the end of the evening
- Rent or borrow!
- Most décor can be rented, ensuring zero waste and a lower price.
- The week before the party, check with your friends and family about plates, cutlery, dishes, glasses, and more that you can borrow for the party.
Chef Gordon Ramsey summed it up nicely when he said that nonstick cookware can “get the f*ck out of my kitchen!”. No one will find [insert your thoughtfully planned and perfectly executed main dish] “served with a drizzle of harmful chemicals” that appetizing. We have added some of our favorite non-toxic cookware brands to keep you and your guests safe and chemical-free.
Caraway cookware has no harmful chemicals, is ethically manufactured, eco-friendly, and packaged in recycled cardboard with no plastic.
If you haven’t heard of the Our Place Always Pan yet, prepare to have your culinary mind blown. The non-toxic, nonstick, and versatile pan replaces eight cookware pieces, including a skillet, steamer, and saucepan.
Offering a full range of kitchen items from knife sets, cutting boards, linen, and cookware, you can plan and prepare that holiday get-together from start to finish.
A few more reasons we’re enamored: Everything’s made with 40% recycled cast iron that would have otherwise ended up in landfills. The skillet can fry eggs, noodles, or fritters in one minute, then bake up pizza, cinnamon rolls, or pie the next.
Once your toxic-free meal is ready to be served, set the table sustainably with this roundup of our favourite eco-friendly dinnerware and tableware brands.
Eco-friendly dinnerware? Count us in. Every dish you see is crafted from bamboo fiber and non-GMO cornstarch (read: super sustainable), with a touch of BPA-free melamine for extra durability. Oh, and you can put it in the dishwasher.
East Fork's three cofounders have been praised for their down-to-earth designs since they met at a farmer’s market and decided to launch their own homeware business. The company’s humble beginning is reflected in its wares: the clay is locally sourced, the pottery is finished by hand, and the colors are plucked from a pastoral, natural palette.
Year & Day’s four core values make this home goods brand stand out. By bringing together a thoughtful assortment of table settings, quality materials, direct shipping and transportation, and responsible manufacturing, you’ll experience fine craftsmanship with each use.
Sustainable table linens are durable and should last you for years. They hold colour longer and don’t fade or wear out even after your Uncle Karl spilled red wine on them (again) or your cousins used them as colouring paper. Here are a few of our favourite brand's mixing styles and sustainability:
Meema creates a range of kitchen and dining accessories from recycled cotton and sustainable materials.
Ready to party? Whether you’re gathering around a big table, bistro set or picnic blanket, 100-percent-linen napkins make any setting feel sophisticated.
Light pink and kelly green stripes are woven together to create this boldly colorful textile. Ethically handwoven by artisans in Xela, Guatemala.
All Atelier Saucier's linens are sustainably sourced, rescued, repurposed, and made in downtown Los Angeles. They hand-select all of their fabrics from the premium surplus of the garment industry and locally produce napkins, table runners, placemats, tea towels + more. The brand is committed to giving back to the community that continuously inspires them, and a portion of every purchase benefits local organizations that promote food + wellness initiatives throughout Los Angeles.
These towels are 100% cotton and feature a hanging loop on the reverse side. Designed in Canada and made in India.
Tarta Gelatina creates funky home goods that are consciously made.
These Kala Cotton runners are handcrafted on hand-operated wooden looms, one of India's oldest textile production methods. The looms require no electricity or punch cards to guide the design, only the skill, technique, and vision of the weavers.
After leftovers have been distributed, recyclables sorted, and the inevitable guest who didn’t pick up on the “party-is-over” memo is out the door, it is time for clean up. These eco-friendly brands make it easy.
Seed & Sprout stocks a range of essentials for those of us just starting our plastic-free journeys or those already living a zero-waste lifestyle.
Public Goods create the most sustainable version of what people need.
Blueland makes cleaning products in reusable packaging, with no single-use plastic or harmful ingredients.
Grove Collaborative makes healthy, effective, and cruelty-free household products.
biom makes plant-based and biodegradable multi-purpose cleaning wipes.
Lomi is a kitchen composter that turns food scraps, bioplastics, and more into nutrient-rich soil while reducing up to 80% of volume.
Repurpose creates green alternatives to disposable plastic products such as tableware and trash bags.
Hold On makes sustainable, plastic-free trash and storage bags.
Keep your friends (and the environment) happy and stock your fridge with Barbet!