10 Ways to Welcome in the New Year Sustainably
Are you planning on having a New Year celebration? If so, this post is for you! I’m sharing ten easy ways that you can implement sustainability into your merrymaking whether it be a big gathering or small. Start the year with right intentions by including one or more of these ideas into your planning.
Use compostable tableware
When it’s time to celebrate no one wants to spend the time dealing with piles of dishes when it’s time to clean up. As wonderful as real plates sound, if you are having a large gathering or need a lot of smaller plates it just might not be practical.
A great alternative to reusable dishes is to find ones that are 100% compostable. These bamboo plates are a great sturdy option that will break down back into the earth in a matter of weeks. Salvos is a great online resources for other green party essentials too. Check out their Public Goods tree free napkins and compostable waste bags that might come in handy.
Don’t forget that you will need to place these in with your home compost or municipal green bin program for it to really be worthwhile - sending them to the landfill in the trash is only going to add to our greenhouse gas problem.
Shop for eco-friendly champagne
This might not something you thought about at first but champagne (and wine in general) requires a ton of water to grow the grapes.
It’s best to seek out wineries that use organic grapes, eco-friendly packaging, recyclable oak barrels. Check for wineries that hold themselves to sustainable viticulture; meaning they voluntarily commit to lowering their carbon, water, and overall biodiversity footprints.
Here are three recommendations you can find here in Canada at the LCBO:
Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Brut Rose De Saignee - Founded in 1895 these Champagne producers were the first to implement biodynamic farming to conserve the soil to produces healthier plants
Pommery Brut Royal Champagne - This hugely popular bottles are from the Vranken-Pommery Monopole Group and have a double label of “Sustainable Viticulture in Champagne” and “High Environmental Value”
Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne - Over the past 15 years, the Ruinart has reduced its use of chemical fertilizers and phytosanitary products, and fungicides by 50% and became herbicide (weed killer) free last year.
Be mindful of food waste
Celebrations are a great time for good food. With proper planning you can indulge while still being mindful of your impact. I suggest preparing an easy to navigate waste station for guests to dispose of their unusable leftovers easily. Try to eliminate the need for a waste bin all together and focus on using items that can either be recycled or composted.
Another great way to avoid excess is to host a potluck and encourage guests to bring an extra container to take home leftovers.
Thrift your party look
Instead of heading to a retail store, why not try searching at a thrift store for your perfect ball-dropping look! Not only are you guaranteed to find something super unique, but you will save money and keep fast fashion out of your closet too.
I find special event outfits the easiest to find at thrift stores because people will often donate items after they wear them only once or twice. If you don’t have many local stores to check out, you can head online to one or more of these online stores and search for your specific size and style.
Another fun idea would be to swap formal outfits with friends or family who fit into similar-sized clothing to you. Odds are someone might have a fun look sitting in the back of their closet that would love a night out.
You can also look into renting an outfit if you need something special for a special occasion, such as your Christmas work party.
Spend time with those you love
Instead of choosing to go to a crowded party out on the town, I always opt for spending celebrations with the ones I love. Doing so allows you to really cherish time and make meaningful memories that will last.
You will also sleep well knowing you didn’t contribute to the mass amount of waste being produced during the holiday. Hosting a game or movie night can be just as fun with the right company!
In my family, we all get together and cook the most delicious things. This year maybe involve the whole family in prepping a delicious meal.
Opt out of fireworks
A notable environmental impact of New Year's Eve celebrations is fireworks. There is evidence that large-scale fireworks displays impact the air quality for days after the event itself and impact the wildlife around the area. Bill Magavern, policy director at the Coalition for Clean Air, notes that fireworks can release heavy metals and particulates in the air, digest into the soil and end up in the water.
Explosives are often contaminated with toxic or carcinogenic chemicals that end up polluting our air significantly for mere moments of enjoyment. Simply put, the bang isn’t worth the aftermath or the expensive price tag.
I encourage you to find appreciation in other traditions that don’t impact the world around you negatively this year. Perhaps have a small campfire where you can burn pieces of paper with things and feeling you want to leave in the current year.
Choose to gift functional favours
Avoid sending guests away with useless trinkets that will end up in the trash. If you do decide to give out favours for the new Year, consider some of these memorable yet functional ones under $20.
Make sustainable resolutions
Another great way to encourage a more sustainable start to the year is to choose some new year resolutions to reflect that. I put together a list of 20 you can take a look through and perhaps choose one that feels most aligned with you.
Making the conscious choice to make a more responsible decision going forward will not only help you develop a deeper appreciation for the earth but be more mindful in the way you carry yourself throughout your life.
Use an eco-friendly planner for your new year’s resolutions
When you are planning out your new desires and goals for the new year, consider using a notebook filled with recycled paper or saving it digitally to save on waste. Rocketbook smart notebooks & planners allow you to handwrite, digitally save, and reuse the same pages again and again!
Host a clean-up
If you head to bed early or rather celebrate on the first day of the year consider hosting a new year’s day clean-up event for your neighbourhood or community! Oftentimes there will be extra trash littering the streets and parks from the parties the night before.
Cleaning it up right away will
Help out your local municipality and small business by volunteering your hands and time to getting everything cleaned up in time for opening hours on January 2nd.
Wishing you and your family the happiest start to a new year!
Hey, Claudia here
I am a senior graphic designer, a dog mom, an advocate for a zero-waste lifestyle, climate change, and sustainability. My articles are based on personal experience and well researched to give you the best source of information for all things zero-waste.