Green Holiday Parties

With this season’s holiday parties, plan and hold ‘green’ events. You may not be able to do everything but even a few activities set the example.

Here are a few ideas to help your holiday parties, whether at home or work, to be more environmentally conscious:

  • Be zero waste. Boulder’s eco-cycle Zero Waste Holiday Guide you’ll find tips for reducing holiday waste, green giving ideas, and alternatives to wasteful wrapping paper! For Boulder County residents, page 2 offers a quick guide to which holiday items are locally recyclable, where to recycle them, and special tree collection and recycling sites.

  • Use compostable disposables. Eco-Products have an entire line of compostable of bio-ware of forks, knives, spoons, cups and plates. Although, these items can be a little more expensive and not decorated, they  are eco-friendly and set the right tone and image for companies trying to be more green.

  • Donate extra food. If you have extra food, don’t let it go to waste. Consider giving it to the following local Colorado food banks;  Boulder Emergency Family Assistance Center, Denver Rescue Mission, or Food Bank of the Rockies .

  • Provide alternative transportation options. When possible provide alternative transportation options to the holiday gatherings. Arrange carpools, provide van transportation or hold your event near a public transit stop.

  • Use less meat at parties. Meat consumption has a high environmental impact.  Try some new holiday vegetarian recipes from Vegetarian Times.

More Resources:

Greening Your Event

One way to green your operations is to make your events and meetings more sustainable.

Here are some simple ideas to get a company started

Don’t Use Disposables: Refrain from using non-compostable or recyclable disposable products such as cups, plates and plasticware. Invest in compostable options (such as Eco Products) or re-useable items.

Offer Alternative Transportation Options: One of the biggest footprint of meetings is getting attendees to and from the meeting location. Offer alternative transportation options such as carpooling or public transit.

Use Green Locations: If you are holding the meeting offsite, consider hiring and using a vendor that has a green facility.

Reduce the Paper: Send handouts to participants beforehand so they can download them to their computer, ipad or smartphone and eliminate the paper handouts.

Here are a few green meeting and event resources;

The City of Denver event calculator that will calculate the CO2 impact of your event.

Green Meetings is a site produced by the EPA that helps focus on resource reduction with meetings and events.

How to Organize a Green Event: Tips for Sustainable Planning

Green America –5 Tips for Hosting Seamless and Sustainable Online Events

Meeting Prep – Don’t Print that Document

A study by Xerox showed that 45% of the office paper that is discarded was on the day it was printed – which begs the question, how necessary was it to print the document in the first place?

Next time you go to a meeting, consider whether everyone really needs a full copy of all the documents. If it is just an aid to be used during the meeting and then discarded, don’t print it. Not only does this waste paper, but often people will end up reading, or skimming, the document rather than listen to you talk. However, your audience still needs to be informed, so here are some alternatives to printing a copy for each person.

  • Print one or two master copies that can be passed around.
  • Develop a 1 page executive summary that highlights the main points
  • E-mail the information out beforehand so people can be familiar with the information
  • Use an overhead projector or white board to write up the main points or topics
  • Download to a e-reader such as a Kindle or iPad