Photo provided by Blane Marable Photography
From the extravagant decorations to single-use cutlery, there are many ways that weddings are wasteful and therefore have negative environmental impacts. However, it is very possible to throw a successful wedding celebration while still doing good for the environment! Here are five easy, zero-waste tips to make your wedding day more environmentally friendly.
1. Send Recycled or Online Invitations
Due to the growing global movement towards sustainability, there are already many companies that offer beautifully designed wedding invitations that are printed on entirely recycled paper. Paper Culture is one example of a company that does this and more, such as their initiative to plant a tree for every purchase made! Supporting companies such as this one will only lessen the effects that your wedding could have on the environment. To be extra sustainable, be sure to encourage your guests to recycle their invitations when they are done with them!
Another option is to go completely paperless and send out your invitations online! There are companies, such as Greenvelope, that create elegantly designed wedding invitations that are super easy to send out. Because everything is virtual, this option allows easy viewing of your RSVP’s, optimizing your organization, which we all know is so important when planning a wedding!
2. Opt for Reusable or Compostable Goods
An easy way to make your wedding more zero-waste is to serve all food and drinks using reusable materials. Having real glasses, plates and utensils instead of flimsy disposables will give a more elegant feeling to your big day! Although there will be more cleanup, think about the amount of single-use items you are saving from the landfill. That makes it all worth it!
If the size of your wedding is too large and using reusables seems logistically impossible, there are many compostable options as well! Companies such as Bambu and Eco-Products have sturdy and reliable compostable products that are BPI certified, ensuring that they are actually compostable. Be sure to have your guests dispose of their plates in compost bins to allow for proper commercial composting of these materials.
3. Say NO to Traditional Confetti
Although most people do not think of confetti as being litter, it actually is! Unfortunately, the small bits of paper and plastic in confetti can leak into storm drainage systems, infecting our waters with trash and causing birds and fish to mistake them as food. However, this fun tradition of throwing confetti as the bride and groom depart can still be kept alive by purchasing biodegradable confetti! These different options of biodegradable paper confetti and dried flowers are sure to give a sustainable flare to your wedding day!
4. Avoid Food Waste
There is one thing that we can all count on when going to a wedding, and that is to eat a lot of good food! However, it is definitely possible to overdo it and have leftovers at the end of the night. To avoid any food waste from occurring at your reception, encourage your guests to only get as much food as they can reasonably eat. Even with this suggestion, leftovers are still bound to happen, so having event compost bins will help to divert food scraps from the landfill! This way, all excess food scraps can be turned into compost and further nourish the earth.
With any excess, unwanted foods, encourage your guests to take some home with them! Provide them with reusable takeout containers, or purchase compostables for easy transportation of food.
5. Use What You Have, Then Shop Second Hand
To be as zero-waste as possible, it is always best to use what you have before buying anything new. When planning what decorations to have at your wedding, first look at what you, your friends and your family have in storage at your houses to see what could be repurposed for centerpieces or accent decorations. If nothing works, thrift stores and flea markets are an excellent place to look for affordable decor! However, if buying new decorations works better for your wedding, try to only purchase items that you will continue to use in the future, or can be given to friends and family to use or repurpose.
Another tip is to consider buying your wedding dress second hand. This is sustainable, as well as more cost effective than buying a brand new dress! There are also resources for used bridesmaid dresses as well. Websites such as these make it easy to search for what you are looking for and find dresses that work for every body type.
By incorporating these simple zero-waste tips into your wedding day, it is easy to participate in the global sustainability movement. Any small change that you can make in your wedding can have a huge effect on the environment! All that’s needed to successfully incorporate these tips is some determination, patience and compassion for yourself and the environment. Best of luck and happy planning!
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