Toast to 2019: Friends of the Earth’s guide to an eco-friendly New Year’s Eve party

Party season is in full swing, and while Christmas is yet to pass there will certainly be many of us turning our attention to the biggest party of the year – New Year’s Eve.
  05 Dec 2018    |      4 min

Once you’ve got your eco-friendly Christmas all sorted it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to make sure that you don’t end 2018 with a celebration of single use plastic and high carbon footprints.

Rosie Cotgreave, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse for a party, but whether you’re staying in or going out it’s all too easy for the celebrations to come with a big price tag for the planet. But, it’s simpler than you might think to make your New Year’s celebrations as environmentally friendly as they are enjoyable.”

Rosie’s tips for a greener New Year’s Eve:

  1. Décor
    • If you’re heading out try to choose a venue that doesn’t go heavy on the single use glossy banners, and perhaps uses paper confetti instead of balloons.
    • If you’re throwing your own party go for long lasting decorations like well-made fairy lights and fabric bunting, which will keep your New Year’s celebrations looking fabulous for years to come.
  2. Rocking the party look
    • It’s easy to get swept up in a wave of glitter at New Year’s, but it’s worth taking a moment to have a think about what we’re doing to the planet’s sparkle. Fast-fashion that’s worn once or twice, for a few hours, before getting thrown on the rubbish heap can take thousands of years to break-down. And plastic can end up polluting our oceans and waterways, destroying wildlife. Instead, try and Make your party outfit greener by going for well-made fashion items that you can wear time and time again, or even go for vintage clothing for a more sustainable look.
    • If you want to add a little sparkle, swap from plastic to eco glitter, made from plant cellulose and a small amount of aluminium.
  3. Party food
    • After all the involved cooking that comes with Christmas we can all be forgiven for wanting something a bit simpler to keep party guests fed come 31st December. Try to avoid the frozen aisles of supermarkets and all the wasteful packaging that comes with it. Encourage your guests to bring a dish and you’ll soon find yourself with a great party spread. It can be worth allocating categories such as dips, savoury mains and deserts – you don’t want to find yourself with a table full of just hummus!
    • If you are really going to town with your cooking, try to source all your ingredients from local traders who are more likely to use UK based suppliers. This will cut your carbon footprint as your food will have travelled a much shorter distance to get to your plate.
  4. Toasting to 2019
    • If it’s cocktails for you come 31st December, look at where you source your ingredients and what they come packaged in. For those G&T garnishes go for unpackaged fruit, veg and herbs from your local greengrocer.
    • Ditch the straw. Get in some reusable ones made from bamboo or steel if you’re hosting, and if you’re heading out to a bar be sure to ask the bar staff to not serve yours with a plastic one.
    • It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve without a little fizz but think about how far yours may have travelled. Rather than Champagne, Prosecco or Cava why not give some English bubbly a go?
    • If you’re hosting a crowd, look at hiring proper glassware rather than buying in single use cups, flutes and shot glasses.
  5. Ending with a bang
    • If you are keen for midnight fireworks get yourself to an organised display rather than sourcing your own, as this will limit the amount of local air pollution caused.