Sound daunting? It isn’t. Here are several simple things that you can do to ensure that your shower has a tiny baby-sized impact on the environment.
Go organic. Your local farmers’ market is a great place to get all kinds of organic party needs (fresh fruit and veggies, organic flowers—even organic wine and meat if you’re lucky enough to have a market that sells them) and to ensure that you’re buying locally. Why does local matter? Because the further the food and other products have to travel, the bigger the carbon footprint they’re leaving. And as a final bonus, organic is better for you, your guests, and your baby!
Save paper with eco invitations. Whatever you do, don’t buy paper cards to send out. For most people, evites are just fine and will allow you enough customization to create something unique and interesting. Even better, you’ll have a built-in system to track RSVPs! If you (or your mom) just have to send out “real” invitations, use seed paper. This amazing product will actually grow and blossom into wildflowers when the invitees plant the paper, so make sure to tell your guests to do just that!
Use real dinnerware. Yes, having to clean up afterward might be annoying but your shower won’t be “green” if your guests are tossing away paper plates and plastic forks. Besides, if you’re going to use real plates, you can go that extra mile and make sure that they’re nice and go with the theme. Buy matching colors or get plates and glasses with cute, childlike designs.
No wrapping paper! Few things are more disposable than wrapping paper, but it’s not that hard to get around if you use a little ingenuity. Ask your guests for “reusable wrap” like baby blankets, cloth diapers, and canvas bags so that you don’t have to throw anything out. Instead of tape, they can keep the wrapping in place with diaper pins.
Decorate with gifts. This one only works if someone besides the mom-to-be is handling things, but one great decorating idea is to hang gifts of clothing around the room using diaper pins instead of buying balloons or streamers that are just going to get tossed. The space will be adorable with all the little onesies, hats, socks, and bibs hanging around, and the guest of honor will flip when she sees it. Just make sure people put their names on the gifts!
Skip cards—buy a book. Greeting cards are nice but all that will happen is that you’ll read them, smile, and then throw them out. That’s a pretty pitiful lifespan for something that can cost as much as $5 or $6. For roughly the same price, your guest could buy a baby book that you’ll keep for years and simply write you—or your little one—a personal note inside the book instead.