The Green Side of Winter Partying
Make your Golden Globe, Oscar and Superbowl parties a little greener this year with these suggestions.
There’s nothing more fun than a winter party in Bethesda. It’s a great time to bring together family and friends, and there's lots of sports and glam in the winter that make for a fun gathering. The Golden Globes, the Oscars, and the Super Bowl are a prime chance to send out the invites, make your favorite recipes and open your front door. Whether it’s for Saturday night pizza, a Sunday game, or a getting together to critique the red carpet, a winter party is a fun time to eat, drink, and catch up.
But how do you ‘green’ a gathering in your home in the winter? Here are a few tips, some from local business owners who know how to green a party, and some new products to check out locally.
Send Invitations Via Email or Use 100% Recycled Paper. Emailing your invitations will save time, money and paper and it’s easier than ever to use email for your invites. Evite is a great resource, but Google around. There are many to choose from. Have a group or occasion that really requires that invitation in the mail? We understand -- baby steps. Stop by Creative Parties on Woodmont Avenue to check out their collection of 100 percent post consumer recycled invitations, thank you notes and place cards. Creative Parties’ owner, Tracy Bloom Schwartz, has been greening the selection in her store for the past five years and offers many options.
Use Your Own China and Silver or Look for Compostable Options. Get out your own dishes, bowls, platters and silver instead of buying paper and plastic. “Use all those wedding gifts you got all those years ago. Don’t use paper. Use what you own,” says Tracy Bloom Schwartz. Lori Hill, of Lori Hill Event Productions, the sustainable event planners who put together Bethesda Green’s Gala last October, agrees with Tracy that it’s best to use your own plates and silverware to green a party. But she has a suggestion for those who can’t: “If you must use disposables, consider using compostable options made of bamboo, fallen palm leaves, sugar cane and other natural products. You can now purchase these at local grocery stores such as MOM's Organic Market, Roots and Whole Foods.”
Check Out New Local and Organic Options for Food, Drinks and Cocktails. Stores in Bethesda have really responded to growing interest in organic in the past year. As you’re shopping for your event, look for local and organic options for chips, crackers and beverages. A party’s a great time to try something different! One of the most interesting and fun items to hit Bethesda recently are Powell & Mahoney’s Vintage Original Cocktail Mixers available at Cork57 on Bethesda Avenue. “They use organic cane sugar and are all natural,” says Fred Namin, the owner. Available in Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Hot Toddy and several other flavors, what could be better for an Oscar party or to quench your thirst after a touchdown dance?
Think Organic for Taste and Freshness. Everyone has their party food favorites and we don’t think you should change that at all. It just wouldn’t be the same. But the taste of fresh organic carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery and peppers will make your dips and guacamoles pop. The same goes for natural or organic breads, rolls and other baked goods – you’ll really notice the difference in taste. So think about organic or natural ingredients for your favorite party foods. MOM's Organic Market, Roots and Whole Foods all have large selections of organic fruits and vegetables and natural foods. In Bethesda you can find a great selection of organic and natural breads and baked goods at the Spring Mill Bread Company on Elm Street, and Breads Unlimited, just down the road on Arlington Boulevard, has been baking breads and baked goods from natural ingredients for five generations.
Encourage Guests to Carpool. Encourage your guests to help you green your party by organizing carpools for guests who live in the same neighborhood or town. It’s a great way to introduce people to each other before they arrive at your home. Have a guest who’s new in town and doesn’t know their way around the area? Pair them up with someone who loves to travel by public transportation. They’ll both appreciate the introduction as they travel to your party together.
Don’t Forget to Recycle Your Bottles and Containers, and Think About Composting Garbage. During the party, keep recyclables like glass, cans, paper and cardboard separate so they can go directly into the blue bins provide by the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services and out by your curb the next morning. Do you compost – or have neighbors who do? Then save your eggshells, vegetable and fruit peelings and other ‘wet’ garbage for the compost pile. You’ll see the results in your summer gardens.
Do these changes make a huge difference for our planet? Not very much individually, but they’re a step in the right direction. Living a greener lifestyle is often about making small changes when you have the opportunity and turning them into greater changes over time. So, if you’re planning a winter party in the next few months, think about the tips we’ve shared here, and have fun making your party a little bit greener. Enjoy!