Whether it's for the holidays or a staff member's birthday, office parties are rarely ever eco-friendly affairs. Sure, they're a great opportunity to socialize with colleagues and network with those higher up on the career ladder. But the earth takes a hit when coworkers are allowed to eat, drink, and be merry. If you want your next office party to respect the earth and have a positive impact, put the following tips and instructions to use.
GREEN PARTY TIPS
Invitations: Send out party notices via email instead of posting flyers around the office or putting paper invitations on staff desks. Simply go to Smilebox.com or Evite.com to create and email invitations for free. Coworkers can RSVP by email as well, which saves twice the amount of paper.
Decorations: Balloons, posters, and crepe streamers are all bound for the landfill as soon as they come down.
- Instead of buying disposable decorations over and over for every office party, buy a couple versatile banners that can be used for several years. And by having reusable decorations on hand, you'll save yourself some of the time and trouble of buying new ones for the next party.
- Another option is to visit GreenPartyGoods.com and purchase some biodegradable garlands, lanterns, or crepe streamers. Those items can then be supplemented with organic flowers, plants, and beeswax or soy candles.
- If you or a coworker can make the food, or even just the cake, at home instead of buying from the supermarket or having it delivered, you can opt for organic, fair trade, sustainable ingredients.
- If you aren't a great cook and can't find anyone else who is, find a bakery that uses local dairy products and produce in their recipes. And search LocalHarvest.org to find a local farmer's market or agricultural co-op where you can get locally-grown party snacks. Your colleagues will be better-fed with a meal that has a positive impact on the environment.
Drink: There are plenty of eco-friendly drinks to choose from when planning your green office party. There are organic, fair trade coffees and teas, as well as organic beers and wines. There's even organic vodka and gin now, too. Check with your local Yoke's Fresh Market or liquor store about their available organic drinks.
- Instead of the standard disposable plates, cups, utensils, and napkins that ultimately end up in the landfill, look for biodegradable, recyclable, or compostable alternatives at Amazon.com. Just make sure you have a recycling container on hand or plan on taking them to a local compost facility or composting them at home
- Another option is to buy second-hand plates, cups, and utensils at your local thrift store.
- You can also ask everyone in the office to donate tableware from home. Getting a set of dishes to keep in your office kitchen is a great green decision that will benefit the environment with every use.
Clean Up: Don't undo all the effort you put into throwing a green office party by using toxic cleaning products.
- Visit your local store or shop online for organic, non-toxic cleaning supplies like Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Spring Clean Up Kit.
- Use washable rags or recycled paper towels instead of regular paper towels.
- Ask your colleagues to put their plates into designated buckets so you don't have to sort through them before composting.
- Be sure to place a recycle bin where it is visible and accessible to discourage coworkers from throwing away recyclables.