I live with the ultimate waste guru, and a passionate waste guru at that. I get told off on a daily basis for not segregating the household waste correctly (putting stuff in the wrong bins to me and you). I get educated on anaerobic digestion, RDF and other such wastey stuff. The waste guru, aka my husband, aka Jez, works in Total Waste Management. He goes into companies and organisations and in a nutshell stops them throwing their waste it into a big hole in the ground. This is achieved by educating and facilitating them to clean up and separate out their waste. The end goal is to actually get money for it, as opposed to paying to have it disposed of in an unenvironmentally friendly manner.
weɪst/verb1. use or expend carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose.2. (of a person or a part of the body) become progressively weaker and more emaciated.adjective1. (of a material, substance, or by-product) eliminated or discarded as no longer useful or required after the completion of a process.2. (of an area of land, typically an urban one) not used, cultivated, or built on.noun1. an act or instance of using or expending something carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose.2. unwanted or unusable material, substances, or by-products.
So I bet you think what on earth is she going on about? What does all this have to do with weddings? Well it got me thinking … People are spending thousands of pounds on their big days on a huge array of items. A lot of which are heading straight for landfill the next day. Could you apply the same principles Jez uses to your wedding day? Any waste producer in industry when transporting their waste has to by law sign to say that they understand, and have applied something called the Waste Hierarchy.
So I will start by looking at the Waste Hierarchy. It is a tool that ranks waste management options according to what is best for the environment. Top priority to given to preventing waste in the first place. When this is not possible and waste is produced the first port of call is looking into how it can be reused. When reusing isn’t an option recycling follows and last of all is disposal (throwing it into the bin).
When I personally got married we did away with a lot of the usual traditional must have stuff. Jez agreed to marry me under the proviso that it was as least like a wedding as possible. In all fairness we were not waving the Eco Friendly flag but looking back now it was a very “Green” affair. This was because we just could not get our heads around spending thousands of pounds on a wedding when money was tight. I’d gone off full time with my kids and wanted to start up my business. So as a result we did away with the table plans, venue dressing, the centrepieces that were not essential to our big day. We invited only close family and friends and did away with the night do too. Our wedding may be quite the extreme, and I understand not everyone will want to do it so frugally. I am not saying you have to abandon the night do etc. to be environmentally friendly. Just have a think, do you really want 1000s of your pounds just going straight into a landfill site the day after your wedding? Can you cut back? Can you make your designs simpler? Can you use less materials? Less is sometimes more.
Wedding invitations for example are expensive and often get thrown away once the event has ended. You could instead create an digital invite an ecard and send them out by email. Check out a company called greenVelope were you can create your first 10 for free.
When applied to your wedding this category of the Waste Hierarchy has the biggest scope. My advise is simple, buy items for your wedding that you love. This means that afterwards you will want to use them to decorate your home, or at worst you can donate them to local charity shops.
If you don’t want to do away menus, seating plans, place cards, etc then use chalkboards. This fab example is by dreamalittlehandmade on Etsy, would make a wonderful noticeboard afterwards.
My (Lotty Lollipop) very own favours double up as place names too and are a perfect keepsake gift for you guests to remember your big day.
When choosing your big day outfits think. Can they be used for different purposes afterwards? Using my wedding day as an example again, my dress has been put away and will be brought out for Lotty’s prom day. Albeit a fair few years away, but it’s design is timeless, and I think it will be a really sweet idea. Lotty’s game!
This Pretty Flower girl dresses by Junk Monkies who specialises in using rare vintage fabrics would get plenty of wear after the big day. As would this stunning flower girl dress by Monkeymoo Designs Edible wedding favours are a good unwasteful idea too as opposed to a little trinkets that will most likely be thrown away.
Or what about having Bee Friendly Seed Favours? Like these by WeddingInATeacup
Instead of buying fresh flowers for your centrepieces, bouquets and buttonholes. What about usings Brooch, Paper or Felt Flowers. These will last forever and can be reused in your own home and/or given away as special keepsake gifts. One of my favourite examples of such flowers are the felt ones by Mustard Pot Pretty Latterns on your tables such as these by Raggerty Ruff Design would look as equally stunning on your mantlepieces at home. Finally how about switching your paper confetti to Bird Seed. Cheap, Green and Genius. Win, win, win.
So the next desirable option is Recycle.
Any items that are not going to be of any use to you after the big day, think about making them in materials that are easy to recycle. Paper, Plastic, simple designs that don’t have lots of different materials in them. These are the very simple Place Name Cards I made for my wedding, they were cheap and effective. I made them by using clip art and card. A huge trend right now is using glass jars and bottles. Simple, effective with single stemmed flowers and easily recyclable.
Shopping locally for you wedding is also key to create an eco friendly affair. As soon as your wedding planning in user way and you have a vision of what you want it to look like. Get yourself into local charity shops, look on flea markets and down at car boot sales. What are you looking for? Anything that you can upcycle and use in your big day: China, mirrors, glass wares and vases etc.
It is all too easy to hop on your computer these days and start Googling, Pinteresting and Etsying – I’m more that guilty of this.
You forget about the great shops that are on your doorstep. Shopping locally is great for many reasons. It is good for the local economy, it is often cheaper as you are not having to pay delivery, and it is more eco friendly as the items stocked are often produced locally and so don’t have a huge carbon footprint.
nounthe amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community.