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Green Party Tips

10 ways to make your next party stylish, fun, and green.

Do as many of these tips as you can. Then reward yourself with a fresh mani and pedi for your party. Hey, even three or four of these ideas will help future generations of Nesties.

1. Evites are a must

Skip the pretty paper cards and save a tree or two. We know you love wowing your friends with your invitation creations, but you'll amaze them enough when they arrive, we promise! Plus, the Evite has a great way for you to still be clever with your post. We love uploading funny pictures and choosing pretty designs that even the pickiest guest will love. And be sure to get creative with the reply categories.

2. Use the stuff you've got

You know those dishes, glasses, and place settings you put on your registry but still haven't taken out of the cabinet? Now is the time to break them out. You'll have to do a little extra cleanup at the end of the night, but isn't reversing global warming worth an extra few minutes?

3. Personalize cups

If you insist on using disposable glassware, buy the kind made from recycled or sustainable materials (look for stuff manufactured from corn resin or sugar-cane stalk, or items labeled "biodegradable" or "100 percent recycled content"). And prevent the cup-mistaken-identity syndrome (you know, when someone takes a cup and places it next to an identical one, and then both people have to get new cups) by taking a Sharpie and marking each cup with a personalized monogram.

4. Light it up

Cut down on electricity and create a romantic (and, let's face it, flattering) glow by placing lit candles everywhere. Use soy or beeswax candles, which, unlike petroleum-based paraffin candles, won't emit toxic, sooty fumes.

5. Be thrifty

When looking for hosting odds and ends that will add a finishing touch to your decor -- like salad servers and place mats -- check out flea markets and thrift shops. As long as you wash them in incredibly hot water, you are actually getting something amazingly unique and doing your part to create less trash. After all, if you didn't buy it, it might have been thrown out.

6. Go local

Skip the produce aisle at your regular grocery store, and visit a local organic farm or market to grab your greens. Or if your supermarket chain carries a local organic vendor line, all the better. You'll not only get pesticide- and hormone-free products, but buying local items means they've had to travel only a short distance (versus thousands of miles) to get to your house. And if you haven't guessed it already, that means they used up less fuel.

7. Fill 'er up

Treat your friends to organic wines and spirits, and you'll be getting them drunk without the gunk of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Another reason you're hearing and seeing so much "buy organic" propaganda is that it supports farmers who make the extra effort to not pollute the soil, which helps Big Momma Earth.

8. Give away your decor

Decorate your pad with small organic plants -- they'll help clear the air of carbon dioxide, of course, and pump in more oxygen. Then give them away as favors. Encourage guests to plant them, and you'll be spreading that earth-lovin' love!

9. Recycle

This might be the "duh" tip of the day, but if you don't do it already, you must. Check absolutely everything you're about to throw away to see if you can use it again (even if it's to send home extra food with a guest). And if you can't use it, make sure glass, paper, and plastic products get thrown out in the recycle bin. This will preserve natural resources, cut down on junk heading to landfills, and reduce the amount of energy used and pollution emitted in the manufacturing of new products.

10. Clean up green

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Organic stuff equals good for the planet. So use spray cleaner and dishwashing liquid that won't add bad chemicals to the water supply, air, and soil. We like Method (methodhome.com) because its products smell yummy. And if you must use paper towels (reusable cloths are ideal), get recycled products from Seventh Generation (seventhgeneration.com) or Planet (planetinc.com). And for whatever waste you have (hopefully, it's not too much), use biodegradable trash bags, like the ones from BioBag (biogroupusa.com).

 

-- Christie Matheson