Useful tips to help you set up a sustainable office summer partyby Jamie Concannon
A sustainable office summer party doesn't have to mean asking people to make a lot of sacrifices, there are plenty of ways to make it fun.
There's a good chance that a "sustainable office summer party" conjures up a few images in your mind. If you're thinking that this kind of event would involve sitting around a dark room sipping on paper straws, we're going to nip that in the bud right here.
First and foremost, an office party should be fun. Especially now that summer is finally on the horizon, people want to enjoy a well-earned change of pace from the usual 9-to-5.
Everything about it should just scream summer, from the food and decorations, right down to the overall theme for the night.
Before we get into how you can make your party more sustainable, you've got to make sure you maintain a summer vibe from start to finish. As in, donning your Hawaiian shirt while you listen to some Beach Boys by the coast kind of vibes
1. Paint the town green
To make this party as sustainable as possible, the best idea would be to not make it the first eco-friendly effort made on a company level. You don't have to immediately start planting trees for every customer you get, but making it clear that this is something you are taking seriously will help your staff become more invested.
Try to think of ways you can reward people's eco-friendly efforts, and lead by example if you're in a position to do so. You could name a "Green Champion" on the day of the party with the incentive of a nice sustainably-produced gift for the winner, or you could even create a leader board of sustainability in the months leading up to it and pick your champion from it.
If you're still at this stage of the planning, check out our tips on making your office a more sustainable workplace.
2. Get the gifts right
It wouldn't be a party without a few gifts, so whether it's a corporate gift for a client or a little something you put together for staff, it's important to get it right. A really well-planned sustainable office party can be pretty much undone due to wasteful gifts that come from the wrong sources.
If you are buying something, try to see if it is responsibly sourced or made using renewable materials. There is a certain level of expectation there that companies are doing this already, so it should be relatively easy to figure out which ones are doing what they can.
Don't take this as meaning you have to buy them crappy gifts that can be recycled into being another crappy gift for a second person. You can still get them really cool gifts that work, be it some summer-themed clothing like a custom Hawaiian shirt and shorts or some cool stuff to take to the beach, all you've got to do is do is the research.
3. Think about the menu
It is a summer party, so we're going to bet that you are already thinking about the menu, and everyone who's going will be doing the same. So much is riding on the food when it comes to how much people will enjoy the party and taking a zero-waste approach is pretty much the only way to go.
Try to go for food that doesn't come wrapped in a tonne of plastic, or at the very least uses recyclable materials. Similarly to the gifts as well, the food should absolutely be coming from a responsible source instead of a company where the only green thing the CEO is interested in is what goes into the bank.
If you know how many people are coming, try to sit down ahead of time and work out how much food you will need to avoid excessive waste. Always try to think about what can be done with the leftovers before you throw them in the trash as well, whether you want to make smoothies from some of the fruit or donate what you can to a local shelter.
4. Make it a team effort
We've already touched on some of this, but for this sustainable part to really work, you've got to try to get as many people invested in it as possible. Making sure everybody has a chance to come up with ideas is a must, because there is always going to be someone who comes up with something you would have never thought of.
Even if it's just for that day, if it's at all possible for people to carpool to the venue for the party, or organise a bus to reduce the number of cars travelling to the same place, the best way to make that happen is by letting people be a part of it all from the early stages.
This doesn't have to just be in the planning stages either, the whole day shouldn't rest on one person's shoulders. A potluck of responsibly-sourced food can work out a lot cheaper, makes everybody feel part of the whole thing.
5. Make green the theme
Honestly, sometimes the hardest thing to understand about sustainability is that it doesn't have to be a grand gesture or massive sacrifice. Just try to keep it on your mind when you're making a call about the party, and ask yourself if there is an alternative way of doing things that would be more environmentally friendly.
For example, when you're sending out invitations, is it really necessary to print out a physical copy for everyone? Sticking to digital cards can not only save you a good chunk of cash and just as much stress, but it also makes it clear from the off that you are taking sustainability seriously.
Once you keep this in mind, it should become a lot easier to figure out what the right thing is to do to make sure the party is as sustainable as possible. From sticking with reusable plates and cutlery to asking around for old decorations instead of buying new ones, it'll all start to click pretty quickly.
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