Weddings unfortunately are not helpful when it comes to cutting down on carbon emissions in the planet. In America, it’s estimated that each of the 2.5 million weddings that take place each year produces 400 to 600 pounds of garbage and 62 tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas associated with global warming. However, many recent newlyweds are taking steps to change that figure by incorporating sustainable, organic materials into their wedding day. Ultimately, the sustainable output of your wedding hinges on a number of small decisions: choosing seasonal, organic materials to decorate helps reduce the overall carbon output associated with your big day.
Look For Fair Trade
When purchasing items for your eco-friendly wedding, look for vendors that offer organic materials or Fair Trade agreements to source their products. Fair trade is an institutional arrangement designed to help producers in developing countries achieve better trading conditions, often with a focus on eco-friendly materials made in small villages as opposed to large-scale factory production. Even if you’re planning a destination wedding, researching and enlisting in local vendors encourages eco friendly habits, while allowing your wedding to incorporate some of the customs and traditions unique to that area. You can surprise your wedding guests with creative alternatives to wedding decorations, such as upcycled flower vases made from vintage glass bottles or name cards printed on Fair Trade paper.
For the centerpiece, try to incorporate sustainable or natural materials such as handmade wood, dried flowers, or organic fruits that can be taken apart and given to guests as a souvenir of your reception. It’s best to keep the natural ingredients of your centerpiece (such as plants or flowers) seasonal to cut down on the carbon emissions of mass-produced greenery. Eco-friendly wedding candles made with soy or beeswax are a subtle, romantic addition to wedding tables which adds extra ambience at a low cost. Once your big day is over, you can also look into options for donating your wedding supplies to low-income engaged couples, which helps re-purpose the small accents that made your wedding personal.
Biodegradable Cutlery and Linens
Of course, it’s a good idea to use reusable plates and cutlery over plastic disposable options, including plastic cups and straws. However, if disposables are absolutely necessary, choose bamboo or biodegradable alternatives, which are a good option for children if you’re concerned they will make a mess. You can also use organic linens for your placemats, napkins and tablecloths (another example of material that can be donated!). Runners and napkins made from hessian, hemp or pure linen are the perfect accompaniment to rustic natural wood tables, vintage tableware and candles. After the wedding, you can offset food waste by donating your leftovers in eco-friendly wedding packages to give to guests or a local charity.
In many cases, weddings signal a preparation for a future generation, which is why it’s valuable to encourage sustainable practices as you usher in a new chapter of your life. The accumulation of small decisions will help make your wedding more eco-friendly by using locally sourced, organic materials Better yet, choosing green options will help encourages your guests to invest in sustainable practices in their own lives.
Written By: Cassie Steele