5 Quick and Easy Ways to Host Your Own Sustainable Event.
Here at Plain Jane Events, we’re working towards making sustainability standard, so you can rest
assured knowing the environmental impact of your event is taken care of and get back to the party! All
too often, the go-to options for events can be wasteful, and are so often single-use, or made of
synthetic materials that contribute to climate change. We firmly believe creating events that are kind
to the planet don’t have to lack visual impact. In fact, at Plain Jane Events, we’re of the opinion that
opting for natural and reusable décor can really elevate an event, creating luxurious touch points that
many single-use aspects simply don’t offer. If you’re wondering how you can achieve this, our
sustainability consultant, Nash Gierak of Bold Green Strategies, is here to give us the lowdown on how
we can all be mindful hosts while still surprising and impressing our guests.
We’re sure that as soon as you decided to host, your next thought was about the theme. It’s at the
centre of every event, and it’s what gets us excited. By their nature, events are sensory experiences,
but first and foremost they are mostly visual, and as event planners ourselves, décor is how we
express that. It is rather unfortunate that so many of the most obviously eye-catching tools of the
trade aren’t sustainable. Think glitter (even so-called “biodegradable” glitter), balloons, vinyl, tinsel,
sprayed florals… so we use our creativity to add sustainable sparkle to our events. To achieve this, we
love how different types of glass textures and colours catch the light, think crackled, cut, frosted, and
rippled. They all look great against flickering candlelight (we love beeswax or soy, rather than
traditional non-eco paraffin varieties) and strings of LED string lights. Texture is also important:
layering natural organic fabrics creates a tactile aspect. Be naturally neutral or go bold with
maximalist colour and pattern clashes. Cotton velvet and hemp look great for winter events, while
linen is lovely for the summer months. Use FSC certified matte uncoated paper printed with vegetable
inks for invitations and placeholders, and be creative with twine, dried fruits, natural twigs and
foliage, paper pom-poms, and felted garlands. Even certain foods can be used to add some shimmer
and shine as the Victorians well knew when they added glacé, crystallised and candied fruits to
centrepieces, known as an epergne, in France. Rest assured that with a bit of imagination, you can
create spaces and tablescapes that can be modern, rustic, fun, or luxurious. Just pay attention to what
things are made of.
Eat and Drink Well
Whether you’re putting together the food and drinks yourself, or choosing bar and catering options,
you can massively reduce emissions from your event by going for a completely plant-based menu.
However, if you’d prefer to go the omnivore route, simply drop red meat…we promise, no one will
notice! Beef is incredibly unsustainable, so opt for high welfare local poultry or seafood. Did you know
that UK shellfish is a super-sustainable option? Think oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops. Here are a
few interesting facts from The Sustainable Food Trust to whet your appetite:
Bivalves are incredible creatures that make a case for themselves as the
most environmentally sound species of farmed food. […] The food they provide to those
that eat them is rich in nutrients; they have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and a
raft of micronutrients. They even have a sideline in sequestering carbon. To ‘farm’
them requires no more than water. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
Always choose a trusted supplier, and source or request local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients,
choosing organic where you can. And as for the bar, there are an amazing array of sustainable drinks
options around now. Take a look at Avallen (planet positive calvados – did you know fruit trees are
inspiration, not to mention the huge range of organic biodynamic wines on offer. We love the Pet Nat
from Ancre Hill Estates in Wales.
A Responsible Venue
If you’re hosting at home, or are hiring a space, opt for a venue that runs on renewable energy, and
that uses LEDs. Pick a venue that has great transport link so guests can reach it using public transport.
Always use reusables, whether than means using what you have, borrowing, or hiring. Apply this rule
to everything you can – tables, chairs, serve ware, crockery, cutlery, linens, and glassware—and always
check there are planet-friendly waste contracts in place.
Hopefully, by hiring and specifying reusables, there will be very little going to landfill. Compost any
food waste (London Recycles can tell you how), and make sure you recycle where needed. If you’re
ever unsure of what goes where, Recycle Now is a great resource of information. If you have had
fresh florals for your event, we highly recommend donating them post-party either to Floral Angels,
who reshare them into the community, or to Confetti Club, who create biodegradable confetti for
reuse, with all profits going to charity.
Send a Green Memo
If a Green Memo is good enough for The Royals, then it’s good enough for us here at Plain Jane
Events! And we’d love to see more of these for private events among friends and families.
A Green Memo refers to an environmental sustainability initiative where organisers commit to
minimising the environmental impact of the event. An example of an event that has used a Green
Memo is the Earthshot Prize, which is a global prize for the environment, aiming to find solutions to
the world's greatest environmental problems. The organisers have committed to making the event as
sustainable as possible, reflecting the ethos of the prize itself.
The Earthshot Prize Green Memo asked guests to consider sustainable options for travel,
to offset their carbon emissions, and to consider the environmental impact of their fashion choices for the
event, encouraging guests to hire outfits instead of purchasing them. The celebrity guests that
received the green memo include Prince William, Kate Middleton, Emma Watson, and David
Attenborough, among others. This is part of a larger trend towards environmental responsibility in all
sectors of society, and we’re here for it! We highly encourage you to read more about it here.
Will you be a #sustainablejane this festive season? We hope we’ve inspired you to host your own
sustainable parties! And if you follow any of these tips, please let us know so we can share them on our