When you think about your big day, sometimes, it takes a little perspective to remember that that’s all it really is: one day. And while no one is disputing your wedding’s significance, reviewing the facts never hurt: each of the 2.5 million weddings that take place in the United States every year, produces–on average–500 pounds of waste and 62 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the Green Bride Guide.
But don’t despair–there are steps you can take to have an eco-friendly wedding without sacrificing your vision, and–as an added bonus–save a little money along the way.
1. Source Seasonal Flowers
During consultations with potential florists, ask where they order flowers from and how often they buy from local growers. Though this will depend on the season you’re getting married and what region of the country you live in Some florists take advantage of the cheap price tags of those blooms grown closer to the equator. Shipping flowers thousands of miles takes a lot of petroleum, and choosing seasonal flowers ensures that they are locally grown which often is synonymous with sustainably grown, meaning no harmful chemicals or pesticides were used, as it happens on large-scale farms.
Requesting seasonal, locally grown flowers not only lessens the over-all carbon footprint of your wedding, it also cuts out shipping costs and the risk of damage that comes with ordering flowers from across the continent, especially for those fragile species that don’t re-hydrate well.
2. A Square Meal
On average, an American meal travels roughly 1,500 miles from the farm to dinner table. No matter how it’s sourced or produced, your meal’s journey requires petroleum; the longer the distance, the more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. You can easily lessen the carbon footprint of your wedding by sourcing local, organic food for the menu–from drinks and desserts to produce and protein.
Serving locally-sourced food will not only be far fresher than store-bought, bulk items–delivering dishes packed with flavor–but its purchase will put money back into the farmers pocket and support the community.
3. Stay Local
Above all stay local. While a tropical, destination-style wedding is surely alluring, investing in your community by hiring your area-artisans, entrepreneurs and small businesses, triggers an influential ripple effect and all the while reducing overall environmental impact.
4. Public Spaces
Holding your wedding ceremony and/or reception in a public space, like a state or metro-park, not only allows you the lush, green backdrop of Mother Nature, but also, the fee (often far less expensive than popular wedding venues) usually acts as a donation to the public space.
While all cities, townships and localities have their own rules, regulations and fees for reserving public lands, lets
5. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The U.S. EPA estimates that Americans generate more than 250 million tons of waste annually and, while much of this can and is recycled or composted, waste still poses environmental problems.
Items like plastic bags, single-use straws or product packaging—can last for hundreds or thousands of years. Plastic trash makes up most of the garbage that accumulates in oceans and threatens marine wildlife, washing onto beaches and coastlines, and amassing into giant gyres of human waste.
Plus, the garbage in overflowing landfills rots and decays, methane–a greenhouse gas–is released into the atmosphere. Methane gas emissions, in addition to CO2, contributes to climate change.
An easy way to combat excess waste is to insist on proper waste management from your reception facility.
If an eco-friendly wedding is important to you, contact Floristry by L. Beans for a free consultation!