While your wedding is one of the happiest days of your life, it can often be one of the most wasteful as well. One study found that the average wedding produces 400 to 600 pounds of trash and nearly 63 tons of CO2. However, there are changes both big and small you can make to help reduce your wedding’s carbon footprint. From recyclable invitations to eco-friendly decor, here are a few tips for planning a sustainable wedding of your own.
Research Your Venue
Choosing the perfect venue can have a large impact on the sustainability of your wedding. When searching for venues, be sure to look for details such as any energy-saving measures in place, water conservation or if they use renewable energy such as solar. The Green Building Information Gateway is a great resource for searching hotels and other event spaces, along with their Energy Star ratings. Another important detail to keep in mind is how you and your guests will travel to your venue. A destination wedding can require a lot of air travel which also results in more carbon emissions.
One of the easiest ways to have a more sustainable wedding is opting for wedding invitations and save the date cards that are printed on recycled or biodegradable paper. You can also search for companies that give back in ways such as planting a tree for every order or products made by wind power. You can even skip the paper entirely and send digital invitations to your family and friends instead.
Reduce Food Waste
Buffet dinners are a leading cause of food waste, especially after large events such as a wedding. Plated dinners can help avoid this issue, however you’re likely to still end up with leftovers. Instead of tossing them out at the end of the night, consider donating those leftovers to a local homeless shelter. Many food banks will even pick up leftovers of unserved food after your reception. Be sure to talk with your caterer beforehand so they can set up arrangements if necessary for food pick up.
Source Local Florals
While cut flowers are ideal for many arrangements, they’re not the best for the environment. Potted flowers such as roses can be reused after the wedding or transplanted to your home garden. If you are using cut flowers, sourcing locally grown and seasonal flowers is a great option. Ask your florist to skip the plastic packaging as well, and use a more sustainable option such as cardboard. After your wedding is over, we recommend donating any leftover flowers to a local charity or hospice so others can enjoy them as well, rather than simply throwing them out.
Wedding decorations often create the most waste. Items such as helium balloons, plastic confetti and glow sticks can be left behind long after your reception and potentially harm the environment. Consider more sustainable options such as biodegradable confetti and balloons to create the same effect with less impact. You can also bring some of your wedding decor home with you and reuse or repurpose it. Donating it to a local thrift store is also a great alternative if you know you won’t reuse it.
Looking for more sustainable wedding gifts as well? Check out some of these handmade gift ideas to show your love for the happy couple.