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Have a potluck...mmmmm! Have a potluck...mmmmm!
Give awards to green employees.Give to a charity instead of doing a gift exchange.

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Throw an Eco-friendly Office Party!

Top Ten Tips to Go Green at your Next Office Party

          The office party can be a source or dread or amusement, but rarely is it an eco-friendly office party. Like many gatherings these days, office parties are full of disposable plates and not-so-healthy food. While your next office party may be as ridiculous as a car full of clowns or as calm as a turtle on sedatives (it depends on where you work), at least you can make it a green party where everyone respects the environment. To ensure that your next office party respects the earth, follow these top ten tips.

1.  Email the Invitations

          Instead of posting flyers or dropping off paper invitations send out party notices via email. Many online programs even allow you to do so for free, or you can create your own invitations. You can even have coworkers RSVP via email, which saves twice the amount of paper. Don't be afraid to let people know that this is an eco-friendly office party, and to include a few tips for those who might not know what that means.

2. Don't Use Paper Decorations

          Streamers and other paper decorations only go straight into the trash once the party is over. Instead of buying these items over and over for every office party, buy one set of decorations that will be versatile and can be used for many years. Then store these decorations in plastic bins until you need them again. Also, forget the balloons, which can choke animals when ingested. For a really lovely effect, try paper lanterns instead.   

3. Hold a Potluck

          A party isn't really a party without food. Instead of ordering a six-foot long sub however, why not ask everyone to bring a dish from home instead. For a truly eco-friendly office party ask coworkers to bring organic foods. A potluck is great because you really get a sense of individual people's tastes and cultures.

4. Try to Use Washable Plates and Utensils

          Nothing can fill up a garbage can more quickly or create more waste at a party than disposable plates, cups, and utensils. If you have a dishwasher in the workplace, use washable dishes and cups. If there is no dishwasher or sink in your workplace then purchase paper items made from recycled materials or utensils that are biodegradable.

5. Make the Recycle Bin Prominent

            Instead of leaving the recycle bin in its usual place, put it smack dab by the garbage can, this way people will be forced to stop and think for a moment before tossing any disposables. They'll think, "Should I really throw this away?"

6. Compost any Food Waste

          Ask your coworkers to scrape off their plates into a special bucket so you can compost any food wastes. Food waste helps provide lots of nutrients to compost, which in turn makes great organic fertilizer. Some of the chemicals produced by synthetic fertilizers include uranium and arsenic.  

7. Clean Up With Plant Based Products

          Clean up the office with friendly chemicals that are plant based. Or try a simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda, which makes surfaces gleam. Also, don't even think about using paper towels, you'll probably need a whole roll just for one party. Instead use rags that can be rinsed and reused. Green cleaning can help make for an eco-friendly office party.

8. For Fancy Parties, Be Smart With Clothing

          It may be the big Christmas party, but that doesn't mean you need to buy a new outfit, Part of sustainable living is making do with what you have. Try new combinations of clothes, or borrow something from a friend. The thrift store can also have some real steals. If you absolutely have to get new clothing stick to organic and natural fabrics, and steer clear or polyesters and acrylics.

9. Ditch the White Elephant at Christmas

          Ah the infamous white elephant gift exchange. Who knows what you'll get this year? Maybe it'll be an action figure, or perhaps a roll of toilet paper. Gift exchanges can be very fun, but usually no one likes their gift and tosses it in the end. Stop the wasteful giving and focus on something productive, like having everyone in the office donate to a charity or food bank.

10. Give Prizes to Eco-Friendly Workers

            Know someone that rides his bike to work? Give him an award for being such a green commuter! Your eco-friendly office party can also be a chance to recognize people who work hard to make a difference in our environment. They may not be doing it for the recognition, but it's nice to acknowledge the effort, and maybe you'll inspire more people to become green at the office.

 

Submitted by SuperGreenMe on Oct 3, 2008