Let’s face it weddings can never really be 100% zero waste but there are some innovative ways to help you reduce your waste and make sure that post-wedding nothing goes to waste. For this blog, I will be focusing on two areas: flowers and food.
Flowers are a huge part of any wedding from table decorations to your wedding receptions, flowers are a key source of decoration and help to enhance your wedding theme. However, if not sourced appropriately you can find that your flowers have travelled vast distances across the globe producing emissions as well as being preserved with lots of pesticides, none of which help you work towards an eco-friendly wedding.
The first step to ensuring your flowers are more eco friendly is asking your florist to use locally sourced flowers. Your florist will be able to inform you of which flowers can be sourced locally and which are in season, to compliment your wedding day. As well as the flowers, you can also look to use naturally dyed ribbons to tie your bouquet together or to use as part of the table decorations and the lovely Mia Sylvia produces some amazing ribbons and other wedding items which you can find here.
If you’re not using a florist then why not grow or forage for your own flowers.
This is a great activity to do as a couple and means you can truly say you know where your flowers are from! If you’re not that green-fingered (like me!) then why not ask friends and family to help out either growing, sourcing or making the flowers? One of our family friends made all their flower decorations for their wedding using flowers from their mums garden as well as my parents garden and it was lovely to see that more unusual options such as rosemary were used in the bouquet which gave added texture but also a lovely smell.
What to do with your flowers post-wedding? After all the celebrations are over there is normally a lot of waste associated with flowers but there are a few ways that you can recycle your wedding flowers. If you’re using a florist then speak to them about whether they can reuse and repurpose your wedding flowers. Some florists I’ve spoken to have links with charities where the flowers are donated to charitable causes so they can carry on bringing cheer to someone else. As morbid as it sounds, some florists reuse wedding flowers for funeral arrangements as unlike some wedding arrangements, most funeral arrangements require the flowers to be more open and full rather than just opening as you may use for weddings.
Donate your flowers directly to a local care home or hospital.
Not all care homes or hospitals will be able to take your flowers as it depends on their guidelines and regulations but it is worth asking as you can really make someone’s day by providing a beautiful arrangement of flowers.
The other major area that needs to be addressed when looking to have a zero-waste wedding is food waste. For obvious reasons there is generally a lot of food waste post-wedding, so here is a couple of wedding tips as to how you can reduce waste. As I have previously stated in my other blogs, it is important to choose a caterer that uses locally sourced, organic and in-season menus for your big day, but post-wedding what can you do to make sure that all that lovely food doesn’t go to waste?
Ask your caterer to pack up the decent parts of your leftovers for your guests to take away with them.
Whether that is full meals that can be reheated later on or different elements such as cheese and biscuits that can be cut up easily and divided between containers, you guests will always be grateful for some lovely food to eat the next day when they’re potentially nursing a post-wedding hangover! This also makes a great alternative to the traditional wedding favours which again can be incredibly wasteful. My top tip is to also make sure that your takeaway containers are recyclable or compostable to ensure there is no added waste. Not all food can be reused in this way so it is also important to talk to your caterer or wedding venue about how they dispose of leftover food and whether it can be put into a compost area so that it can break down naturally and be used in the future as fertiliser.
Food banks and charities are always grateful to receive donations but unfortunately, a lot of them cannot take pre-prepared food, however, it is worth speaking to your food provider to see if any leftover food that hasn’t been used such as vegetables or other items can be donated to a local food bank. If you’re into your technology then check out Olio App which is a free sharing app where you can give away food for free, but again be sure to check the guidelines of what is accepted.
I hope that some of the tips above can help you to include some environmentally friendly elements into your wedding planning and demonstrates that it doesn’t always have to be difficult to make a small impact on the world around us.