You are probably aware of ways to promote an environmentally friendly wedding, but if you’re not doing things in your own wedding business to promote sustainability you could be missing the mark. As a certified Master Recycler with the City of Portland, and earning a Gold Sustainability at Work certification in Portland, I wanted to share some ways you can green your wedding business.
Sustainability Practices in Your Wedding Business
- Purchase items locally, within a 100-mile radius of your offices or warehouse.
- Purchase items that have already been used, or give old items a new life.
- When shopping for office products, purchase items made from either recycled content, or the highest post-consumer recycled content. This includes both paper for printing, but also toilet paper.
- When making purchasing decisions, opt for items that are durable vs. disposable.
- Print business cards on 100% recycled paper and with soy and vegetable ink.
- Utilize a CRM or e-sign program to have contracts signed and filed electronically to minimize unnecessary printing.
- Print double-sided to conserve paper and use tree-free paper whenever possible.
- Re-use single-sided paper and use as scratch paper for note taking.
- Use non-toxic cleaners or make them yourself so that you can re-use the containers they’re made it. My favorite go-to multi-purpose cleaner is Germ Warrior by C11 Clean. It’s made from simple ingredients such as vinegar and essential oils and is in a concentrate so you get much more bang for your buck. What’s better? It smells SO good it’s also theraupetic!
- Use durable rags instead of throw-away paper towels to minimize waste and save those precious trees.
- Utilize non-disposable dishware vs. one-time use items such as paper products, balloons, compostable dishes, or utensils. Not all “compostable” products are created equally so be sure to do your research.
- Recycle all paper, glass, rigid plastic, styrofoam, plastic film, aluminum bottles, and anything else accepted locally. Your city sustainability offices or garbage hauler will have a list of what is and what isn’t accepted.
- Compost your food waste. Some cities offer curbside composting. If this is an option, collect food waste at your offices via a compost pail then bring home once a week.
- Opt for sustainable web hosting (such as wind-powered).
- Re-use all packaging such as cardboard boxes and bubble wrap.
- Ask suppliers and vendors to provide bills electronically vs. in the mail.
- Whenever you can, travel by foot, bus, or bike. If that’s not possible, “batch drive” (do all your errands at once) routing your drive so you’re not back tracking.
Water and Energy
- Use a programmable thermostat set down to 60 degrees in the evening and after hours.
- Use low-flow faucets in both the bathroom and kitchen as well as opt for a low-flow toilet.
- Light your office space using energy efficient light bulbs.
- When you’re not using equipment such as a microwave or office electronics, not only turn them off but unplug them when not in use.
- Use Energy Star rated equipment such as printers, computers, and your refrigerator.
Other Ways to Green Your Wedding Business
Now that you have a few more operational ways to green your wedding business, here are a few other ways you can be more eco-conscious:
- Encourage your clients to opt for flowers that are in-season and locally grown and to repurpose floral from the ceremony (such as on the cake or sweets table).
- Select other wedding professionals that are eco-warriors and promote sustainability. Just because a business recycles or composts doesn’t mean they value being eco-conscious. Ask questions about their business practices, where they source, or what they’re doing to promote sustainability.
- Discourage your clients from using compostable dishware. I briefly mentioned this, but not all compostable dishware is really compostable. Compostable, one-time-use dishware must get enough air and oxygen to break down in a landfill (where most end up). Unfortunately, compostables are buried and won’t break down as fast as advertised. And in some cases, such as bioplastics made from corn, there are farms dedicated solely for manufacturing. This isn’t a sustainable practice as compostables should be a by-product of something else. Not made for its specific purpose.
- Along the lines of food, ask caterers where their food is sourced and what they do with food that may be left over. Do they have their own farm (or utilize a local, organic farm)? Donate left over food to a homeless shelter? Do they have vegetarian options that are worthy of skipping out on meat?
- Let clients know they can skip the favors (that no one really wants or needs anyways) and instead make a donation to a charitable organization on behalf of guests.
Grab Your Free Checklist
If all of this talk about ways to green your wedding business is making your head spin, then you’ll want to download this free checklist I created. It’s 4-pages of actionable tasks you can implement in your business. From water conservation and indoor air quality to office purchasing and energy efficiency.