Easy Eco-Friendly Party

  1. Fun fact: 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. So why not throw an eco-friendly party? Follow these tips from party planner Maria McBride, and it'll be easy-breezy.

    Wine Bottle Vases

    The lean, elegant silhouette of a wine bottle lends itself to a second life as a bud vase. It’s shaped to hold a well of liquid and its narrow neck makes it a superior vessel for long-stemmed flowers and foliage. Fill the bottles with shoots of ivy; these hardy plants are easy to root and, once established, make a natural sun shade. Bonus: homes with well-placed shrubs and leafy vine cover enjoy reduced energy costs simply by being shaded! It pays to go green.

    3 used wine bottles
    Bottle brush
    Adhesive solvent
    3 10-inch ivy shoots

    1. Clean used wine bottles with bottle brush. Use adhesive solvent to remove any label remants.

    2. Fill each bottle halfway with water. Remove several leaves from the end of the ivy stems to easily insert into the bottles. Be sure at least 2 inches of the root end of the stem is submerged in water.

    Click here for more eco-friendly party tips.

  2. Burlap Napkins

    Jute fibers, woven from a quick-growing plant, are strong and supple, and yield two of the world’s most utilitarian fabrics: burlap and canvas. These hardworking natural fibers are a gardener’s favorite. They’re used most often for bagging and screening, but they can also lend your table a stylish sensibility. Go natural with jute and other sustainable plants, like teak and bamboo, which are now crafted into eco-conscious tableware. Their cultivation promotes healthy indigenous communities around the world, an earth-friendly policy.

    Pinking shears
    2 yards of 54-inch-wide burlap
    Remnant canvas strips (about 20 square inches)

    1. Use pinking shears to cut out 18-inch squares from burlap.

    2. Use pinking shears to cut a dozen 1/2-inch strips 10 inches long from remnant canvas.

    3. Fold the burlap into a square. Rest flatware in the center; wrap and knot with 1 canvas tie.

    Makes 12 napkins

  3. Cardboard Coasters

    Reuse and recycle. The more we find a way to minimize our debris, the more we help our planet. Wine bottles and tin cans can be turned into vases, old towels into polishing cloths, shredded plastic bags make super stuffing for doggie lounge pillows, burlap into napkins. With a little thought, there are ways to repurpose so many things. Cardboard packaging inserts are sturdy and absorbent; when they're cut to size and decorated with a floral rubber stamp to suit the occasion, they make ideal coasters.

    2 sheets 11-inch x 8-inch
    Paper cutter
    Daisy-print rubber stamp
    Green ink pad
    Green marker

    1. Cut the cardboard sheet into 3 half-inch squares. Each sheet will make 6 squares.

    2. Detail cards with the rubber stamp. Create a repeating wallpaper pattern by overlapping the same stamp.

    3. Use the marker to edge the 4 sides of the coasters.

    Makes 12 coasters

  4. Personal Plants

    When I was in elementary school, we planted trees in the schoolyard to commemorate Arbor Day, first celebrated in Nebraska in 1872. We dug holes for scrawny saplings, watered them well, and sang a song. Years later, I was proud to see these plantings mature into shade trees that now brought relief to a new generation of students. More than 100 years ago, and a century before concerns of global warming, there was an emerging awareness that the greening of our communities was an important objective. Encourage your guests to embrace and sustain the green spirit by offering small plants in peat pots that can be planted as-is.

    12 small green plants
    12 2-inch peat pots
    12 wood coffee stirrers

    1. Transplant small plants into peat pots. Press the soil and plant into each pot with your fingertips.

    2. Use a marker to letter coffee stirrers with your guests’ names; insert vertically into pot like a garden stake.

    Makes 12 potted plants

  5. For more party planning tips...

    Check out the book Party Basics for New Nesters by Maria McBride.

    Buy the book

    All photographs by Alison Rosa