Green your New Year's Eve festivities

If you must use paper napkins, make sure they get recycled. Why not have a recycling bin or two next to the trash can marked "paper" so that guests get the idea. (You could also do the same for the "compostables" bin.)


Decorations:


Make your own decorations from leftover wrapping paper, newspapers, and magazines. When the party is over, either save them or pitch 'em in the recycling bin.


[image-1]Lighting:


Use soy candles to set the mood. Paraffin candles as they are petroleum-based and produce environmentally damaging soot, whereas soy candles are clean burning and put off little smoke.


Food:


Look for locally grown (preferably organic) food at farmers markets and from local natural food stores. If you've got a compost bin, simply throw appropriate table scraps into the bin instead of dumping them in the trash.


Beer:


[image-2]Buy locally brewed beer. For us here in Tampa Bay/Central Florida, look for brews from Cigar City Brewing, Dunedin Brewery, St. Somewhere Brewing Company, and the Orlando Brewing Company (the only organic brewery in the Southeast). Pick them up at the source, if possible, (Dunedin Brewery and Orlando Brewing sell refillable growlers) and most can be purchased at local beer retailers and Whole Foods Markets.


Mixed Drinks:


Purchase organic liquors, like 360 Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila (my personal favorite), and Papagayo Rum, and use organic fruits and juices to make mixers. Check out Organic, Shaken and Stirred by local Tampa author Paul Abercrombie for ideas and inspiration.


[image-3]Wine and Bubbly:


Look for organic and biodynamic brands, such as Bonterra, Quivira, and Domaine Carneros. Again, check your local Whole Foods Market and natural food stores as well.


Don't know what to do with all of those leftover corks? Recycle them into a cork message board, place card holders, or send them in to Yemm & Hart Ltd., to be made into recycled cork tiles. They're a small company in Missouri that makes eco-friendly building materials. Send your cork wine stoppers (no plastic or non-cork materials are accepted) to:


Wine Cork Recycling


Yemm & Hart Ltd.


425 N.Chamber Drive


Fredericktown, MO 63645


I hope these tips have inspired you to ring in the new year the Earth friendly way. Have a happy, healthy, and sustainable new year!

Start the new year the eco-friendly way by greening your New Year's Eve bash. (Plus, it'd be a great way to start your green resolutions.) Take a look at these easy tips, some of which are inexpensive and even free.

Invitations:

This one is simple: make your own invitations online with Evite or on Facebook. They'll get to your guests quicker than snail mail and, best of all, they're free! (I also suggest using SomeEcards for their offbeat and humorous e-cards.)

Eating/Serving:

Buy inexpensive flatware, plates, and serving pieces. You'll then have them in your arsenal for future parties. IKEA always has great deals on inexpensive and unique serving ware (i.e.: their Svalka champagne flutes- $4.99/6-pk), or you could even check your local dollar or party supply stores.

Alternately, you could also purchase biodegradable and compostable plates and silverware. Some brands to look out for: Aspenware, TerraWare, and World Centric, check your local Whole Foods Market or natural foods store, or buy them online from biodegradablestore.com or greenpartygoods.com. If you're having a big gathering, go ahead and rent everything from plates and flatware to table linens and napkins from a local rental supply store.

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