This past spring, my extended family and I learned of a then soon-to-be new addition to the family. Ella Rose would be arriving from China with her parents (my sister and brother-in-law) in May after more than four very long years of waiting. For valid reasons, my other sister and mother were not going to be able to attend the baby shower for the new daughter/cousin/niece/granddaughter, so I felt it was extremely important to throw a wonderful shower as this was such a significant event.
The new parents (as well as myself!) work in the environmental field, and I knew that it was important to incorporate environmental considerations in to the planning. Disclaimer: These practices have not been researched for their specific quantifiable environmental benefits, but fit the bill for reducing, re-using, and recycling; as well as environmentally preferable and local purchasing.
Though some might feel it flies too much in the face of tradition, I used Evite for the invitations. A tasteful background with well-thought out appropriate text can make this medium go a long way. A tea party theme was decided on due to the timing of the party, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
An eclectic (though good quality) set of tea cups was purchased from Goodwill Industries, as well as various vases to hold the roses (Ella “Rose”) for decoration. The Goodwill items were later re-donated. A bulk store was the source of the Fair Trade Certified (focus on sustainable practices) roses that were positioned around the room. Ella Fitzgerald CD’s were taken out of the library to round out the ambiance for the shower. Finally, unused pink crêpe paper from a prior event provided the final decoration detail.
Disposable plates and bowls, reasonably priced, were obtained from a chain pharmacy: “Made from sugarcane. A natural renewable resource. Water and oil resistant. Biodegradable. Microwavable.” Recycled paper napkins were purchased separately. The inexpensive metal (read re-usable) utensils came from bulk store, and proved to work out great for the large gathering (and I even lent them out to a friend for a bridal shower).
In a stroke of luck, my mother uncovered a much-treasured old wooden musical frame that we had as children and I took the opportunity to re-gift it to my sister for her daughter to enjoy. An estimated 99% of the used gift wrap was recycled, with the exception of some bows and ribbons.
Lastly, for shower favors, each person received at least one small pink rose chocolate lollipop created just a mile away at a local candy store. With the “Rose” lollipop, they received a small bouquet of roses to take home.
At the end of the day, everyone seemed to have really enjoyed themselves, and my sister was well on her way for preparing for the arrival of her daughter.