Now more than ever, people are becoming more conscious about the unnecessary waste we produce in our everyday life. You can probably find hundreds of articles listing the top 10 things you could be doing to save the planet. But one thing we tend not to think of when it comes to waste is an event, more specifically weddings.
Toronto event planner Rebecca Wise came to the show to give us some tips on how to turn a white wedding green without breaking your budget.
A way to host a more sustainable wedding is by paying attention to what’s on the menu. You can cut out red meat and provide a vegetarian menu to reduce your carbon footprint by about half of what a menu serving meat would produce. A great eco-friendly caterer is The L-eat Group who cultivates a 3000-square foot urban garden, producing heirloom vegetables which are used in their catering dishes.
One of the hardest wedding planning decisions is choosing the type and amount of food you’ll need for your guests. But, it’s also one of the largest sources of waste. Believe it or not, most venues are just starting to include recycling into their services, which means they’re not up to date on composting. Most of the food waste is going straight to the landfill, which contributes to the 34% of all methane emissions.
Waste Not Farms is a group that offers composting and recycling services for events. They provide green bins, pick them up at the end of the event and take the waste back to their facility.
BIODEGRADABLE PLATES AND CUTLERY
Why not go one step further and also compost your plates and cutlery? You can get biodegradable sets made from renewable sources like sugarcane, bamboo and palm leaf. Also, don’t wait for a wedding to start using these – you can introduce them into your summer barbecue and family parties.
SECOND HAND DÉCOR
Another great way to have a more sustainable wedding is rethinking where the decorations and the bride’s dress are coming from. It’s simple (and cheaper) to look for second hand décor, which means you’re not shipping a bunch of new things to use once and then throwing them out. Social media can come in handy when looking for your beautiful second hand decorations. Bartering and trading apps are also a good option to find items like lanterns, candle holders, ring bearer pillows or centerpieces.
Here are a few more tips:
- Make your place cards or centrepieces double as wedding favours.
- Barrel and prickly-pear cacti planted in small pots serve as both escort cards and thank you tokens.
- Add some edible table décor with herb plants in terra cotta pots, like basil or cilantro that guests can add to their dishes.
Flowers are one of the decorations that take a wedding from one level to the next. But, if no one is taking the flowers when they leave the wedding, the venue will simply take centrepieces and throw them away. The Violet Heart Project takes care of this issue by collecting all leftover flowers, restyling and delivering them to patients in hospitals, hospices, or long term care facilities the next day.
Flowers and Herbs – A Petal or Two Website
PRINTING & THE EXIT TOSS
Stationery and the printing of invitations is a huge cost of the wedding, but nowadays, the invitation works solely as a reminder for the guest to put the event date in their phone. That leaves the invitation in the garbage, or at least a recycling bin. Consider using plantable stationery that is printed on biodegradable paper. It has small seeds so that when it’s discarded, it can be planted and sprout flowers. Instead of printed escort cards and programs, try hand lettering all the details onto a mirror or furniture piece, and guests will get the same information without the waste.
The exit toss is a beautiful tradition where guests throw rice or confetti at the newly-married couple. But, there are different ways of keeping up with the tradition and getting rid of the litter. There is:
- Biodegradable confetti
- Water soluble confetti
- A plant-based approach where you can use flower petals or lavender
Plantable Stationary and Confetti – Botanical Paper Works Website