I've always been an avid recycler and I have have waaaaay more recycling each week than I do trash. I try to keep my environmental footprint as low as I can. Weddings can produce a lot of waste. Any big event naturally has a lot of waste and can create a big environmental footprint. If you are planning your wedding and are concerned about your waste, then this blog post is for you! Below are a few ways that you can limit the waste from your wedding day and keep your wedding environmentally friendly.
Use Reusable Plates, Cutlery, Glassware, and Serving Utensils
This is the easiest thing that you can do! Talk with your caterer and make sure that the place settings are reusable and not going to be plastic or paper that will just end up in the trash. Most caterers will offer reusable place settings so talk with your caterer and see if they have reusable options that would be perfect for your wedding day. The same thing goes for the serving utensils that they use. See if they use reusable items or if they primarily use single use items.
Make Sure Your Venue/Caterers/Bar Services Recycle
Even if you use all reusable place settings there will still be some waste that accumulates during your reception like beer bottles, soda cans, etc. Talk with your venue, caterer, and bar services and make sure that those items end up going to a recycling facility vs into the trash. Same thing goes for the leftover food, see if your caterer can donate the food to a shelter instead of throwing it away.
Rent What You Can
Renting decor items, tuxes, linens, etc can help you keep your environmental footprint low. Instead of using one time use paper napkins, rent linen napkins that can be washed and reused. Instead of making a chalkboard sign for your wedding that will just end up in the trash afterwards, rent a chalkboard sign. Renting can also help you save some money so that's a win, win!
For items that you may not be able to rent, see if you can find an item that's been upcycled. Most wedding decor items aren't really able to be used in real life after the wedding and really get little use. Search the wedding for sale groups to see if someone is selling the decor pieces that you'd like to use. After your wedding, sell any decor items to future couples. You get to save some money and help the environment by reusing your items.
Find Decor That You Will Use Again
If you can't find the decor you want that's been used and you don't think you will be able to sell your decor after your wedding, think about using decor that you can use again. Maybe the signs that you use can be repurposed for your new house, your serving set for your wedding cake could become your new cake and pie server, etc.
Consider Alternative Centerpieces
Instead of candles that will burn down and be tossed maybe do a centerpiece filled with fruits that your guests can take home and enjoy or that you can donate to a food bank after your wedding. Your floral centerpieces could be taken to a retirement home for them to enjoy and then be composted after they wilt. Think outside the box here because there are so many things you can do centerpiece wise that will make your wedding unique, beautiful, and have a low waste imprint.
Online Invitations/Recycled Invitations/Compostable or Flower Invitations
There are a lot of stationary items that can occur for a wedding and while some of them may be recycled, you can also use stationary items that already have a low environmental footprint. If you must use paper invitations, make sure they are made with recycled paper. There are also invitations that are made out of flower seeds so your guests can plant them and have them turn into beautiful flowers instead of have them go into the trash. We are also in the digital era so maybe instead of sending paper invitations for all of your events, consider online save the dates, bridal shower invitations, etc. Instead of printing a menu for each guest, do a sign that can be upcycled. Instead of tossing any programs that are leftover from the ceremony, make sure they get recycled.