5 Eco-Unfriendly Event Decor Items And Their Alternatives
Have you ever considered if your event is kind to environment in terms of decor?
You might be surprised how much guests notice whether the elements you include are actually any good for Mother Nature.
These days you risk the disapproval of your guests or even the outright banning of some of your planned elements by local authorities if you don't incorporate some eco-friendly items to your special event.
The balloon drop has long been a popular feature at New Year's Eve and product launch parties, while balloon arches have become wildly popular for upscale parties.
Even worse, you need a horrifying amount of them to make a visual impact.
There is even a formula for balloon quantities which becomes prohibitive not only in environmental waste but in excessive cost.
You multiply the room length by room width in metres by a factor of 10 to absolutely blanket the ceiling so you can't even see it, by 7 to get a "good" coverage with slight gaps, and by 5 to have an OK coverage with visible spaces.
For example, if your venue measured 30 metres long x 10 metres wide and you wanted good (but not blanketed) coverage, you need 30 x 10 x 7 = 2,100 balloons.
I shudder to think what happens to all these balloons and the environment after the event.
Did you know that today, many Australian councils ban the public release of helium-filled latex balloons?
Here's three eco-friendly alternatives to balloons
1. If you MUST use a balloon garland at the very least take as many as you can after the event, around to your local hospital or nursing home for the patients to enjoy for a while longer.
2. Coloured or printed paper lanterns store flat and if used with care, can be reused the following year.
3. Why not suspend pagoda umbrellas from the ceiling? After the event they will function beautifully as stylish, eye-catching umbrellas.
Avoid Disposable Cutlery and Plates
Garbage bins heaving with a mountain of plastic cutlery and plates at your cocktail party, expo or festival creates a poor look for your business and makes it look as if you haven't planned ahead.
Here's three eco-friendly event alternatives to disposable plastic cutlery and plates
1. Think carefully about bite-sized food you can serve your cocktail, expo or festival guests that can be served and eaten immediately that require no disposable cutlery.
2. Use biodegradable and compostable plates, cups, cutlery, straws and napkins. Look for ones made from bamboo, sugarcane, areca palm leaf, pine and recycled paper.
3. Plan a sit-down meal using real cutlery and gorgeous china charger plates if your venue has a functioning kitchen.
Avoid Foam Marquee Letters
Many companies want to create a big impact particularly in larger venues, by placing their business name or company slogan on a stage behind the guest speakers.
Polystyrene foam letters do look amazing but these babies don't decompose and worse, their foam beads can get into the water supply and affect the sea.
Here's three eco-friendly event alternatives to foam marquee letters
1. Consider hiring LED light marquee letters or ordering custom 3D letters to spell out your message.
2. Order a customised LED neon sign spelling out a company name or slogan that you can use and install at your premises after the event.
3. Spell out your name using a gobo or light projection. You just have to think of Melbourne’s White Night or Sydney’s Vivid Festival to see how effectively projected messages, animations or branding liven up a dull or dark space.
Avoid Plastic Water Bottles
Single-use water bottles are typically handed out at festivals, expos and conferences although the Glastonbury music festival made the news this year for banning their sale, which is a trend set to continue. But their rate of recycling remains disturbingly low and again, most of them end up in landfill or the ocean.
Here's three eco-friendly event alternatives to plastic water bottles
1. Promote your festival is a plastic water bottle-free zone. Provide drinking stations that allow them to fill up their own brought-from-home bottles.
2. Provide your conference guests with carafes and glasses of water.
3. Instead of giving patrons a branded, one-use plastic water bottle, gift them a branded thermos-style bottle that they can keep using for years to come to keep their drinks hot or cold. And they'll reduce the impact on the environment.
Avoid Unseasonal Florals
Be kind to Mother Nature and use the flowers available in season only. Don't cost the earth by ordering so-called fashionable flowers that aren't in season and have to be flown in at great expense.
Here's three eco-friendly event alternatives to unseasonal florals
1. Consult your florist on floral availability for your event and use the closest approximation in shape, size and/or colour if your first preference isn't in season - or even grown locally.
For example, most people cannot correctly identify peonies, and as this flower variety is available only from October-November in Australia, you're making a poor environmental decision to order these outside those two months.
2. Use locally-sourced flowers, concentrating on native florals in particular.
3. Increase your use of green foliage and/or potted trees for impact.
You might even like to feature faux florals amongst your arrangement - few guests would care or even mind your flowers aren't real.
Liked this? Read 6 Ways to Create An Eco-Friendly Event.