Other Green & Just Events

Not planning a wedding or bar or bat mitzvah, but a community event or party instead? Never fear, our Green & Just Guide is here for you, too! Many of our ideas can be applied to a smaller to-do, but have a big impact. Start with these suggestions:

1. Serve food from socially- and environmentally-minded catering companies
Consider finding a catering company devoted to social justice and action. In the L.A. area, Mama’s Hot Tamales,
http://www.mamashottamales.com/index_LosAngeles.html (213.487.7474), trains low- and moderate-income residents living within the central region of Los Angeles. Their delicious tamales also support their economic skills-building programs. In the Bay Area, Mission Pie, http://missionpie.com (415.282.4PIE), collaborates with local youth advocacy organizations to provide a positive work environment to San Francisco youth, as well as using exclusively sustainable ingredients for their delicious pies (sweet and savory)! Find more green and just caterers in our Food and Catering section.

2.  “Green” papers, just printing
Recycled paper saves trees, water, and energy. When creating the invitations for your event, or any other paper products you’ll need (programs, pamphlets, etc.), look for recycled papers with the highest possible postconsumer content and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for any non-recycled content. To make your paper choice socially just as well as environmentally responsible, look for a printer who employs union workers. In Northern California, there is Ink Works Press,
www.inkworkspress.org (510.845.7111), based in Berkeley, and in Southern California, try Continental Colorcraft, www.continentalcolorcraft.com (323.283.3000), based in Monterey Park.

3. Choose no-waste tableware
Rather than using disposable (and land-fill filling!) plastic plates and forks, use only compostable tableware. Items such as compostable plates and “silver”-ware made from potato starch are available through vendors such as Smart & Final, Amazon.com, and Branchhome.com. Another fun option is to ask guests to bring their own, non-disposable tableware. Real glasses, plates, and silverware all go a long way towards a green goal for your event. Plus, having your guests create their own “tableware potluck” can add a creative and fun aspect to your event!

4. Think Green & Just when choosing your location
While considering the options for your event’s location, think about the social and environmental impact your location can make. Look for venues at a synagogue or non-profit organization – somewhere where your rental fee will help support a great charity! – or even hold your event at an individual’s house. Check our Locations section for suggestions of specific venues. To reduce the environmental “footprint” of your events, consider choosing a venue that is easy for your guests to get to by public transit. Alternatively, you could encourage your guests to carpool. For tips on finding venues on bus lines and easy ways to set up carpools, check out our Transportation section.

5. Leftovers and Cleaning Up
Now that your community event is over, keep your socially and environmentally friendly hat on when it comes to finding a use for your leftovers and cleaning up your waste. If you have a substantial amount of food left over, donate it to a local food bank! Many banks and organizations will gladly accept leftover food. Look in our Leftovers section for a list of such food banks. As for your food waste, consider composting rather than throwing it into the garbage can. Many Bay Area cities offer curbside compost bins. If your city does not, find out if one of your guests has their own compost pile in their yard, or if a local community garden could use the compost (check on any restrictions first), so you can keep organic waste out of the landfills.

Have suggestions? Real-life stories using these or other ideas? Please share them with us for future versions of the Guide!