Even the smallest wedding can produce masses of waste. If you’re planning your big day or have one coming up, it’s easy to forget that a little extra care can dramatically cut down on the paper waste that masses of cards, collages, and decorations can create.
40% of the world’s industrial logging goes into making paper, and this is expected to reach 50% in the near future, so any efforts to reduce your paper waste will be helpful.
So, here are our five favourite tips on how to reduce your paper waste and stay green when you tie the knot.
While rice is no longer recommended for your wedding celebrations, switching to confetti, streamers or bunting can quickly add up to produce a large amount of excess waste. If you’re looking to save a little money and avoid the damage that masses of mulch can cause, these can be easily substituted with biodegradable flower petals. You can easily source bags of flower petals online from a number of reliable suppliers at affordable rates.
These are biodegradable, don’t damage animals if they eat them, and look truly fantastic at all events – rain or shine. If you want to add an extra touch, sprinkling dried heather or rosewater through the petals will let your friends scatter you with petals that smell as good as they look.
Avoid using paper cones and set out a decorated box for guests to take a handful of confetti out of as they walk outside.
Being environmentally conscious and building it into your theme is a fantastic way to stand out and help ensure that your big day is as carbon neutral as possible. Now a massively growing trend, this can involve simple tricks like keeping a minimalist theme and asking for donations to charities instead of grandiose wedding gifts or arranging group travel for your guests.
Choosing a host that makes recycling a central part of their business is also a massive help and asking them to process old invites, menus, or table plans can help you stay green even after your big day is over.
It may be shocking to find that the wedding industry is worth over £10bn per annum. Looking on websites like Gumtree or Freecycle can help you quickly pick up elements like decorations, paper lanterns, streamers or more.
This can also include more specialist items like unused table settings, template prints, or even reams of photo-paper that were simply never used. Just be sure to pay it forward when your big day is over and pass on what you have left to the next lucky couple.
Of course, the best goal for any green wedding is to avoid using any paper at all. Wedding invitations, thank you cards, or gift lists can quickly result in a great deal of printing that could easily be avoided. Luckily, a number of online companies have sprung up to fill the gap – allowing guests to RSVP online and avoid having to print out or collate a single invite or save-the-date card.
If this is not an option for your budget, free sites like WordPress allow you to quickly set up a wedding website with minimal fuss and link it to your social media accounts, letting you share communications quickly and efficiently – streamlining communications and cutting down on paper use.
While it can be tempting to go ‘purely paperless’ the reality is often far from the truth. Some older relatives may struggle with using the internet and there is often no substitute for hand-designed service pamphlets, brochures, and printed photos, letting you keep mementos from your big day.
If you do choose to use a professional printing service, it’s often best to find a provider that puts sustainability at the core. This should involve you looking for companies that source their paper from environmentally responsible foresters, have a commitment to greenhouse gas reduction, and uses paper that can be easily recycled or uses a mix of re-purposed pulp with their product.
There are tons of ways you can do you bit for the environment for your big day, particularly ways to reduce paper waste. We hope we’ve given you a few ideas!
Header photo credit: Rachel Clarke Photography
with CLAIRE BOON and SARAH MACKLIN of BOUQUET & BELLS
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