February 3, 2012

Are You Ready For Some "Eco-Friendly" Football?

I have to admit, I'm not a football fan. Never have been. In high school, I only went to football games because it was "cool" to freeze off our butts and sit in the bleachers with friends and listen to the awesome band perform those hit hip-hop tunes that were popular in the 90s. In college, I went to Super Bowl parties to be around cute boys. I know, I sound shallow on a craft blog, but there is a point to this, I promise.

See all of those years ago, I was not an environmentally concerned person. Sure, I cared about animals, but I was not concerned with my consumption, over-consumption, or environmental impact. 

However, I am now.  As Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, I've decided to bring my eco-warrior hat out to share tips on how you can be the "eco-friendly hostess-with-the-mostess" for one of the biggest days of consumption and waste creation of the year. Better yet, you can take these tips and turn them into habits for future parties to come. Even better, your eco-friendly hosting might inspire your friends and family to also eco-host and well, you know, you've just started a life-style trend/change that will have a large impact years from now.

Before I give you the tips though, I want to share the initiatives that the NFL has taken this year to make sure that Super Bowl XLVI is the greenest event thus far!
  • It will be powered by 15 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy, provided by Green Mountain Energy Company, avoiding more than 29 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
  • The green energy firm will also offset greenhouse gas emissions associated with both teams’ travel, install a residential solar array and plant 1,700 trees in urban Indianapolis – the home of this year’s big game.
  • Other green initiatives planned for Super Bowl Sunday include recycling, prepared food recovery, materials donations and Super Kids Super Sharing – a sports equipment and book donation project, the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee said.  (Data courtesy of earth911.com)

So what about us, mere mortal? What can we do?

  • Before guests arrive set up a corner that is for recycling. Grab a clear bag and let guests know that all glass and aluminum bottles and cans go there. No exceptions!;
  • Speaking of items in cans and bottles that require recycling...if you're hosting a lot of guests, consider getting a keg. Renting a keg is both economical and less wasteful as a full size keg holds the equivalent of 165 12-ounce containers of beer and can be refilled and used many, many times. For water, have a pitcher with water and ice for guests. They'll never notice the lack of water bottles;  
  • Avoid plastic! Serve food in your own sets of dishes, bowls, and platters and provide glasses and silverware. If you can't, then in aluminum trays (they can be recycled after being cleaned) and buy degradable cups (they sell them in most places), paper plates (uncoated are the best for the environment). Also don't offer plastic utensils-for a few extra dollars you can purchase wood, bamboo, or corn degradable utensils, or you can use the sturdy metal ones in your drawer;
  • Another way to avoid utensils is to offer finger food items so that guests can grab and nosh instead of needing utensils and sturdy plates;
  • Speaking of food, when buying for and planning your menu, consider purchasing local items- beer, cheeses, even meats. In NYC we have Farmers Markets all over the city. While slightly more expensive, you will limit packing waste and you're supporting local purveyors and industry;
  • One more thing about food-do not over cook! I know, you want to have food for every body, but think about all the food you'll throw away post-party. Food waste, while it does decompose, sits in bags for days, months, and years before completely doing so;
  • If guests are all in one room, there is no need for all the lights to be on. Make sure you turn off the lights in rooms that are empty. 
  • In the bathroom and around the kitchen sink, leave out towels so guests can dry their hands and never touch a paper towel or napkin until their eating;
  • Avoid using plastic table cloths. Use an old sheet and wash it afterward, or buy paper without the lining on the backside. You can't recycled the damaged paper cloth, but at least it will disintegrate faster than plastic. 
  • Oh and lastly, when shopping for all these goodies, grab your stash of reusable bags, it will make being green a bit easier when you start with this first step.
Again, all of these tips can be used for future parties, so bookmark this post (shameless plug) and refer to the {NewNew} when you're hosting an event. If any of you readers have tips to share or do something eco-friendly for your party and want to share, please do so! We all learn from each other.

Lastly, have fun! Whether you're cheering for the Patriots or the Giants, you'll be doing so in a less is more way and that is what matters. It can be easy being green (sorry Kermit)!


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