Center for American Progress

It’s Easy Being Green: How to Throw a Green New Year’s Eve Party
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It’s Easy Being Green: How to Throw a Green New Year’s Eve Party

Stay in this New Year’s and entertain your friends with a party that’s fun, healthy, and sustainable.

Enjoy your new year's party sustainably and responsibly. (Flickr/FXR)
Enjoy your new year's party sustainably and responsibly. (Flickr/FXR)

Read more articles from the "It’s Easy Being Green" series

Another year is coming to an end, and that means it’s time to celebrate. Hosting your own party is the best way to make sure it’s sustainable, as it gives you control over the environment—not to mention you can pick your own music and save on gas or cabs. You can also skip paper invitations and send out Evites encouraging friends to carpool or use public transportation. By following the rest of the tips below, you can cut back on the amount of trash you have to clean up the next morning, make sure your guests eat healthy, and help with the inevitable post-party hangover.

Use glass instead of paper. Using glasses and mugs for your guests’ drinks ensures that you don’t end up with trash bags full of plastic cups the next morning. If you don’t own enough glassware for all of your guests, see if you can borrow some from neighbors or friends, or consider renting them from places such as Rental HQ. Another route is to use biodegradable dishes and cups from sites like Treecycle and WorldCentric.

Get creative with homemade decorations. The decorations you put up to celebrate 2009 will be hard to reuse in 2010, so why not make them recyclable from stuff at home? You can make your own confetti out of scrap paper, newspaper, and holiday gift wrap, or use empty wine or champagne bottles as candlestick holders or vases. While you might not be able to do all of your decorating with materials you already have, plenty of sites like Planet Green and Green Party Goods can lend a hand.

Choose tasty, healthy foods with a small carbon footprint. For appetizers, try some homemade salsa or hummus, veggie or goat cheese dip, and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for dipping, such as celery, apples, carrots, and grapefruit—the closer to home the better. For desserts, organic truffles, cookies, or cheesecake are available at local all-natural markets such as Whole Foods. Try the Local Harvest site to find sustainable food grown close to you.

Look for organic wines and champagnes. Organic wines and champagnes bear the USDA organic seal, and are made from grapes that are not grown with pesticides or additionally preserved with sulfites. Many organic cultivators also respect biodiversity on their vineyards and grow vines in healthy soil with cover crops planted between rows of vines. The Daily Green has a list of organic sparklers and champagnes on their site here, and a new organic boxed wine here. Whole Foods has also released their top 10 organic wines for the holidays. As with any alcoholic drinks, moderation is encouraged, and remember to recycle empty bottles.

Help cure the hangover. Want to help your guests who may have had too much recover the next day? If so, you’ve got more options than bacon or eggs. Lots of water is an obvious choice, but you can also try coconut water or wheatgrass. Yoga or any other athletic activity is also one of the fastest ways to rid the body of toxins. If you’re looking for something alternative, try your hand at concocting some Lotus Root Cooler or Ginseng Licorice Tea.

Resolve to continue the trend. After throwing an environmentally responsible New Year’s party, why not make resolutions to green other areas of your life? You can start small, such as looking for ways to save energy around the house, cutting your food bill, or saving paper. Or why not think bigger and choose to drive a more fuel-efficient car—or even better, drive less.

Read more articles from the "It’s Easy Being Green" series

Photo by Flickr user FXR

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