16 Simple Tips for a Sustainable Wedding

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It’s the season for tying the knot, and if you’re an eco-minded bride, you may be wondering how you can have a more sustainable wedding. These simple tips will help you have the wedding day of your dreams – while minimizing your impact on the planet!

There are many ways to plan a more sustainable wedding day. Obviously, weddings are typically fairly large events, and they can create a lot of waste.

But did you know that your choice of ring, dress, menu, and venue can also have a substantial impact on the environment? In fact, the average wedding creates 63 tons of CO2!

Having recycling bins at your reception is a great start, but from start to finish, you can make your special day more sustainable and environmentally responsible with these simple tips from TerraPass.org.

The Ring

Sustainable wedding and engagement rings are a romantic gesture with deep symbolism and a must for any wedding. Each year in the United States, 17 tons of gold are crafted into wedding bands for the newlyweds. Even though wedding rings are a luxury item,  more often than not, regular jewelers don’t know where the gold comes from or its environmental impact.

The Facts:

All of those rings, not to mention necklaces and bracelets used for bridesmaid and grooms gifts have a huge impact on the environment because the metal they are made of have to be mined. In the process of making 1 new wedding ring, an average of 20 tons of toxic waste is created by standard mining practices. Two-thirds of newly-mined gold is extracted from huge open pit mines, many of which can be seen from space.

Sustainable Alternatives:

  • Is an heirloom ring an option? That’s the way to go – no added environmental impact, plus the history of the ring makes it even more valuable. Vintage rings usually have a unique design unlike any you can find in stores. If the style or the size is wrong, just get it adjusted at a jewelry store. Buying antique jewelry is also an eco-friendly option.

The Dress

A girl cannot imagine a wedding without a marvelous dress. Many of us have dreamed about it since we were little girls.  Few brides would give up the tradition of finding the best dress for their wedding, but the dress is a source of emissions. It takes chemicals and dyes to make your dress pretty and snow white.

The Facts:

The environmental impact of the fashion industry is massive. For example, polyester, the most widely used manufactured fiber for wedding gowns, is made from petroleum. In the United States, the textile industry is the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions. The average wedding emits approximately 14.5 tons of CO2e. That is the same as putting 3 cars on the road for a year!

Sustainable Alternatives:

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The Menu

The Facts:

Food is a major part of any celebration but it is also a major part of an individual’s carbon footprint. We have some great tips on how to make your wedding dishes sustainable and tasty.

Easy tips:

  • Implement the 100-mile seasonal diet rule to make sure your food doesn’t create emissions through travel. In other words, try to refrain from going with the tropical fruit platter unless, of course, you’re in the tropics.
  • Lean on your sustainable caterer for the best options. Nowadays there are a few who might know the source of your food right down to the farmer who grew it!
  • Avoid bottled water at your sustainable wedding. Sure, it’s convenient, but the bottle is made from plastic – a material with a high carbon footprint. Plus, it is destined for a landfill, where it won’t degrade for years. In the U.S. we are blessed with safe tap water, so purchase a refillable container instead and fill it up as you go. Besides, a beautiful container is much fancier!
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The Guest List

The Facts:

The more people you invite – the larger the footprint of your event becomes. People need transportation, room, and board, which all create carbon emissions. Even the invitations have a footprint. Are you sending those by mail and then to a landfill? What about party favors and decorations – are they just amusing trinkets destined for the dump?

Sustainable Alternatives:

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The Venue

The Facts:

Picking the right venue is a major part of reducing the carbon footprint of your wedding. Guests travelling to and from the venue for and  represents a whopping 73% of its total carbon footprint, while overnight accommodations eat up 11%.

Sustainable Alternatives:

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For the full list, check out the full article at TerraPass.org

 

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