New Year’s Eve is the ultimate occasion to celebrate achievements (or say good riddance) to the year that was, and what better way to bring in the new year than to get your friends and family together for a party! However, with thousands of tonnes of waste making its way to landfill every year in Australia following NYE celebrations, here are a few small changes you can make for a more eco-friendly way to welcome in the New Year.
From curated designer e-invite websites such as Paperless Post to Facebook, e-invites are not only the most efficient way to track RSVPs but are also one of the easiest ways to avoid unnecessary paper waste.
If you do decide to use paper invites, opt for unbleached, recycled paper to avoid a slow decay of your invite into landfill. Stay away from foiled paper, which can take up to 30 years to break down – so your invite may still be around while you are seeing out the year in 2048!
DECORATIONS THAT DON’T FOLLOW YOU INTO THE NEXT DECADE
Yes, it’s undoubtedly easier to head to your local party store for fun, festive decorations, but certainly not the most eco-friendly option. Many decorations, supplies, and favours are made from non-recyclable and single-use materials like toxic plastics, which end up in landfill.
This is especially true when it comes to the much-loved balloon. Balloons coated with a metallic finish, often seen at New Years celebrations in the shape of the numbers, although very fashionable are not biodegradable. Balloons, even latex options which are considered biodegradable can still take anywhere from 6 months to 4 years to break down, so it is best just to avoid balloons altogether.
Instead, opt for more eco-friendly options such as bubbles, homemade recycled paper confetti, recycled paper tissue pom poms, soy candles, banners, non-bleached streamers, even fresh cut flowers and recycled decorated bottles and vases.
When most of us think about the ultimate NYE party outfit, we think of something that screams fun, sparkle and glitz. Unfortunately, many of these fashion items have embellishments that are made from environmentally hazardous glitter, plastics and sadly, many of the embellishments are sewn on by exploited labour.
But fear not, we are not asking you to sacrifice your look; many ethical alternatives are available! Opt for brands with a commitment to ethical production, ask your friends if they have something you can borrow (after all, it’s just for the night, right!), alter or style something differently that you already own, or look for something unique by making your way down to local thrift store. If you still decide to purchase a new outfit for NYE, choose pieces that are timeless and versatile to ensure you can get the most out of your pieces for many years to come.
When it comes to food, it’s best to first speak with your guests regarding dietary requirements before planning your menu. This will not only save you time, but it will help to avoid any unnecessary food waste. Canapés are also a great way to serve for social events, not only is it a great way to get your guests up and moving around the party it is also a great way to reduce waste as you can avoid laundry, table settings and plastic cutlery.
AND THE CLEANUP….
Once the party is over, look at ways to reuse, recycle or upcycle an item instead of automatically throwing it away. Recycling clothing, accessories, even shoes is easier than ever with organisations such as SCRgroup offering drop-off centres in schools, at train stations and across shopping centres.
Need ideas? The internet provides an endless resource for ways to repurpose or reuse, so next time you go to throw something away, take a second to think about whether it can be recycled, reused or jump online and find your local drop off point here