In my mind, I’m a green hostess. Not the color; I mean environmentally friendly. In reality, I’m pretty sure that’s not true at all. France banned paper cups and plates at the end of 2016, an ever since I read that I’ve been wondering how terrible these little life savers really are. There has to be some kind of a trade-off, right? Maybe washing a whole bunch of dishes is worse than using paper plates…
Nope! Not even close! Every single article I read trying to make myself feel better about using paper plates helped me feel the opposite. Reusable, they said. Use ceramic plates, they said, and wash them in your environmentally friendly dishwasher that you totally have (I actually do have one. But I know that’s not true for everyone). These are good intentions. But are they realistic? Can a frenzied hostess like myself ever really be a green hostess too? I already spend enough time trying to get everything else together. How am I supposed to worry about the environment when I’m in such a time crunch?
Tips to Becoming a Green Hostess
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Okay, so these are not going to be earth-shattering revelations. You’ve probably heard all of them before. But sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of things, and to go in with a specific plan to be environmentally friendly instead of feeling guilty about it later. I’m not the only one who feels guilty, right? When you take out bags and bags of trash after a barbecue, don’t you cringe just a little? I would say if you don’t feel a bit remorseful, this isn’t for you, but on the other hand, if you don’t care at all maybe you’re exactly who should be focusing on being a green hostess.
1. Buy Eco-friendly paper plates.
You think I’m crazy now, don’t you? I just spent all that time talking about paper plates and I still want to buy them. Look, here’s the thing. I can pretend to be a green hostess all I want, but the truth is, I already have enough dishes to do after a party than to have to worry about every single guest and how many plates they want to dirty up. If it’s a small party, yes, by all means, use the good dishes. But a big barbecue or Halloween party, or anything involving 20+ people, is going to make being a green hostess much more difficult unless you get a caterer who does all the cleanup for you. These plates aren’t necessarily the cheapest options, but you will have to get tips about cheap somewhere else. I like these and these.
2. Set up signs for “Recycle” and “Trash.”
Whenever I go to a party, I always ask if the host recycles. I think in some places it’s a given that they do, but it’s not everywhere. I couldn’t even get my trash company to pick up my recyclables when I lived in North Carolina, so I just gave up. Make it easy on everyone. Put up some big garbage bags (or trash cans, if you have multiple) with signs above them so everyone can easily deposit their used goods. This is going to be environmentally friendly, plus less time consuming for you. If you make it obvious where you want their garbage, guests will be more likely to throw stuff away. Have you ever been to a hostess’s house where they put the trashcan in a pantry or under the sink? No one wants to go through your stuff to find the garbage, so it gets left out.
3. Skip the Streamers.
You already know this one’s my favorite, right? I’ll take any excuse not to decorate, and this is a great one. Leave all those paper products on the shelves of the party store, friends, and tell everyone you’re a green hostess. I’m not saying you can’t decorate at all, but why not get some reusable decor or try out some garbage? Wine bottles are my favorite decorations saved from the trash. Just peel all those labels off and stick some candles in them and you’ve become super fancy. Then you shove them into a cabinet somewhere and use them again next time (or drink more – also fine). Now you’re saving paper, plus the headache of having to tape all those nonsense strips of paper all over your house.
4. Take your Reusable Bags when Food Shopping.
Look, I’ll be honest. I have no idea what to tell you about environmentally friendly food, other than buy local and don’t buy things individually wrapped in plastic 15 times. But I can tell you this. Reusable shopping bags are great. Your house won’t become crowded with plastic bags, plus there’s less to carry because they hold more. I sincerely don’t understand why everyone isn’t already using them. They save time loading and unloading, and they save the environment by not getting thrown into landfills. Seriously, if you don’t already have them, get them! Then use them every time you have a party, and eventually you’ll remember to use them every time you shop. Now that’s a green hostess!