Super Bowl parties are a sacred tradition for plenty of Americans. Your carbon footprint probably hasn't made your list of priorities on game days past, but that doesn't mean you can't start a new tradition and make this year's Super Bowl party less harmful to the environment. Other how-to guides may have you re-using chicken bones as toothpicks or putting a limit on the number of times your guests are allowed to flush the toilet, but making your Super Bowl party more eco-friendly doesn't require such drastic (or weird) changes. Just put any or all of the following suggestions into action on Super Bowl Sunday and you'll still have a fun, worry-free, Green Bay.
HOW TO LIGHTEN YOUR SUPER BOWL PARTY FOOT PRINT
Arrange a Carpool: Instead of having guests drive themselves individually to your house, arrange a carpool for them to arrive in fewer cars. This will not only save parking space and fuel costs, it will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion. You can spend your afternoon driving around town picking up each guest or you can just recruit the friend with the biggest SUV to do it for you.
Use Human Heat: With the extra people in your house, you'll be able to turn your thermostat down 5-10 degrees, saving energy and money. Remind guests to turn their own thermostats down before they leave their homes.
- Before you buy decorations for your Super Bowl party, do you have anything in your closet or garage that can be used instead? They don't necessarily have to be football- or even Super Bowl-themed; they could be leftover Chinese lanterns from your garden party or strings of LED lights from your Christmas tree.
- Have you asked your friends if they have any reusable decorations you can borrow for the big day?
- Instead of spending money on balloons, paper streamers, or plastic necklaces and accumulating waste, make your cooking the decorations: frost cakes and cookies with team colors or mold foods like Jell-o, Rice Krispies Treats, meatballs, or cheese logs into football shapes.
- Make your guests the decorations and have face-painting an activity at your Super Bowl party. For an eco-friendly face paint, mix together one part cold cream with two parts cornstarch or baby powder, add a little bit of water, then divide it up, and add food coloring.
- Many decorations, as long as they're in fairly good condition – not broken, soiled, or unusable, can be donated to local organizations like Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Don't Choose Delivery: Pizza retailers see a dramatic sales increase on Super Bowl Sunday. While clean pizza boxes are accepted by most recycling centers, those soaked with oil, sauce, and cheese are not. If pizza is already on your menu this year, you can always make it yourself or buy it from a local take-and-bake pizzeria.
Buy in Bulk: Create less packaging waste and save money by buying as many menu items in bulk as you can. If your menu happens to include beer and you've invited a large crowd over, don't be so quick to discredit the economy of a keg: it can hold 165 12-ounce containers of beer and rented or purchased, it can be refilled and used over and over again.
Buy Local: Get locally grown produce, locally raised meat products, and locally brewed beer. Your neighborhood Whole Foods Market has a wide variety of wings and party platters on sale at the moment, or you can search the Local Harvest website for local co-ops and farms to purchase from. If you don't know where to find locally brewed beer, simply visit Real Beer's website and enter your zip code.
Use Silverware and Dishware: Any online search results for ‘Green Super Bowl Party' will tell you to recycle or re-use your plastic cups, plates, and utensils. But wouldn't it make more sense to just use your own dishes and cutlery and then wash them after everyone leaves? You'll be saving money and keeping waste out of the landfill.
Sort Recyclables: Put out separate bins for glass, plastic, paper and cardboard, aluminum, and compostable material for your guests to use during the party. You'll save yourself the time and agony of sorting through all the trash after everyone has left.
- Offer your guests cloth, recycled paper, or biodegradable napkins. Be sure to put the latter two into your compost pile so they can mix with food waste and become mulch.
- Do you have accident-prone friends who often spill food and drinks on your furniture? Be sure to have an eco-friendly stain cleaner like Bio Kleen Bac-Out at the ready.
- If you have unopened food products such as potato chips or canned chili, take them to a local homeless shelter or food bank.
- If you have lots of half-eaten leftovers, put them in airtight containers and freeze them.
- Tell your friends to bring Tupperware containers to the party so they can take home leftovers and keep you from eating junk food for the rest of the week.