A picture of a group of friends and a dog enjoying a garden party together.

How to throw an eco summer garden party

With great weather comes great partying, but most of us want to enjoy our outdoor space without hurting the environment – so why not throw an eco summer garden party?

It’s the best of both worlds, as you can get some summer sun and socialise with friends, all while knowing you’re doing your bit to protect your garden, local wildlife and the wider environment.

Here are five ways to enjoy an environmentally friendly garden party, so you can have some guilt-free good times while the weather holds out.

1. Paper straws

They’re the in thing right now, and the good news is that paper straws are much easier to get in the shops than they were even just six months ago.

Consider paper plates instead of plastic too, and check that they are made of recycled materials and/or suitable to be recycled again – many paper plates are waxed, which can prevent them from being recycled.

In fact it’s often best not to recycle paper plates at all because of the risk of food remnants contaminating the batch of recycled paper pulp, but instead you can often put them in compost heaps where they will biodegrade just fine.

2. Avoid disposables

An even better option is to avoid using disposable plates, cups and cutlery completely, so if you have enough for all your guests, serve up reusable alternatives.

These are often much better to use – plates that hold their shape, knives that actually cut – and if you happen to have a dishwasher, the clean-up isn’t too time-consuming either.

3. Luxury linen

Tablecloths give a party an extra feeling of occasion, especially if you combine a cute patterned linen tablecloth with eco-friendly bunting and other pretty decorations.

At the end of the party, you can just throw the tablecloth in the wash. Again, reusable napkins give a sense of luxury but will ultimately save money on buying a stack of paper napkins every time you throw a party.

You don’t have to break the bank – garden party linens can be bought pretty cheaply and will dry quickly on the clothes line on a hot day, without using the extra energy of a tumble dryer.

4. Au naturel

Stick to natural materials as much as possible, especially things you can recycle or throw on the compost heap after your eco friendly garden party is over.

Decorations can include flowers and leafy sprigs cut from your garden – especially if you plan to do some pruning to get your shrubs into shape before your party.

Natural materials have a wonderfully tactile quality to them, keeping everything on theme for an eco summer garden party.

5. Go vintage

Finally, if you need to buy anything for your party – such as new tablecloths and napkins, or new plates and cutlery – check local second-hand stores first.

Your guests probably won’t mind, or even notice, if their food is served up on mismatched plates, and again there’s a certain charm in having a hotchpotch of sizes and styles to choose from.

Reusing is even better than recycling, and when you buy second-hand party supplies, you tap into that vintage market and avoid the carbon footprint associated with manufacturing brand new plates, cutlery, cups and decorations.