Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Twisted Limb Paperworks has been creating their eco-friendly line of custom artisan-crafted invitations and assisting with the creation of green celebrations like bat and bar mitzvahs for fourteen years. Their staff knows that while planning for a large event, it can be tempting to forgo the eco-friendly in place of the easy. However, it is the company's long held belief that preparations for a celebration can not only be environmentally friendly but also simple and enjoyable. Below, you will find many helpful ideas to assist with creating a beautiful, green b'nai mitzvah. With your child's participation, choose just a couple or many ways to incorporate sustainability into her or his b'nai mitzvah for meaningful family experience and the opportunity to teach your daughter or son to be a good steward of the earth. PLANNING / GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS:
In making your decisions, here are some overall thoughts to keep in mind:
• Ask yourself about each item, "Do we really need this? Is it necessary to a meaningful and beautiful celebration? If so, do we have to buy it? Can it be borrowed from a friend or purchased used?"
• Consider ways to have close friends and relatives participate as a way to have food, centerpieces, etc. locally homemade by people who love and care about you.
• When purchasing, go local or regional as much as possible and choose to work with socially and environmentally conscious companies. If you must purchase something that has been made overseas, verify that it is ethically made with fair trade labor.
• If all of your decisions cannot be "green" make a priority list of two or three things that are most important to your family that you can commit to doing.
• Give significant thought to a service project that within your capacity will have the greatest impact for the environment or those most in need in your community. Plan a service project even if it is not officially required by your synagogue. INVITATIONS:
• Choose 100% PCW recycled invitations that are processed without chlorine. Encourage guests to recycle their invitations, or have seeds embedded in the paper so that guests can plant the invitations and enjoy the flowers that grow from them. Have guests bring their seeded invitation to the synagogue for planting a wildflower garden that will be enjoyed by all members of the congregation.
• Use a reply postcard (no envelope) and forgo the inner envelopes-you'll save paper and money.
• Choose a small simple design or a self-mailer-again, less paper!
• Create a website with details about your bar/bat mitzvah-directions, hotels, other weekend events, to avoid having to print this information out for everyone. CLOTHING:
• Be honest. Do you already have something (or two or three or four) things that you enjoy wearing and are suitably festive for the occasion?
• Select a vintage dress or suit from a resale clothing store.
• Choose vegan shoes, and dresses, skirts, shirts, pants, suits and ties made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, silk or recycled fabrics. Check to make sure garments are fair trade and made with sweat-shop free labor.
FOOD, BEVERAGES & DISHES :
• Find a caterer who will provide vegetarian and organic entrees made with locally grown produce and locally pasture raised meats.
• Remember that cakes and other desserts can also be vegan and/or made with locally sourced organic ingredients.
• If table settings are not provided by your venue or you are having an outdoor reception or a casual friend party
1. Rent real glasses, dishes, and cloth napkins to avoid using disposable plates, etc.
2. Use biodegradable, compostable dishes and flatware made from cornstarch, sugar cane, or tropical leaves. Check out Earthware Biodegradables
• Serve local beer and wine and organic varieties when possible.
• Have carafes of water at each table to avoid bartenders handing out bottled water. FLOWERS/CENTERPIECES:
• Find a florist that uses flowers from local and/or organic farms. There may be an organic flower grower at your local farm market.
• Use potted plants in place of cut flowers for centerpieces. These can then be given as gifts or enjoyed in your home.
• Create centerpieces of fresh fruit that can be donated to a food pantry afterwards. PHOTOS:
• Frame your wedding photos in recycled frames finished with earth-friendly stains. Visit Reframe
, Green House Framing
or Black Dot Furniture
• Ask guests on the invitations to carpool to the synagogue and reception.
• Have a climate-neutral bar/bat mitzvah! Offset the CO2 pollution from your guests' travel by investing in renewable energy initiatives with: Native Energy
, Carbon Fund
, or Terra Pass
• Consider an outdoor reception at a favorite natural spot to add to the beauty of your celebration and to remind yourself of Judaism's strong connection with nature and why you make environmentally responsible choices every day.
• Have the reception at the synagogue or within walking distance to avoid having your guests drive between the two. Provide a shuttle from the synagogue to the reception to avoid multiple vehicles from making the same trip.
• Forgo the program or have your order of service printed on 100% recycled PCW paper that has been processed without chlorine.
• Use your program to let your guests know how important the environment is to you, and all the ways you have considered the earth in planning your bar/bat mitzvah. Have a friend collect the programs at the end of your ceremony and recycle them. FAVORS:
• Instead of favors, let your guests know in the program that you have donated $1-$2 per guest to your favorite environmental organization.
• Give a recycled handmade paper bookmark--this is a very useful gift. In place of a bookmark, give a small envelope of wildflower seeds to your guests.
• Give tree saplings from the National Arbor Day Foundation
or have one planted for each of your guests through Trees for the Future
• Soy candles, bracelets that support your favorite cause and fair trade chocolate are other small and responsible tokens with a light footprint. GIFTS:
• You may choose to state on your invitations: "Please no gifts" or "Your presence is your gift to us" or recommend that guests donate to your favorite environmental group in honor of this special occasion. Create a gift registry at Changing the Present
so that your guests can contribute to the causes most important to you in lieu of material gifts.
• Present your mitzvah teen with concert or sporting event tickets or other experiential, non-material gifts that will create lasting memories instead of ending up in a land fill.