Do the environment a favor and party the green way.
Girls Night In
Credit: Lee Harrelson

Green parties are all the rage, and hosting one is easier than you might think. Raid the china cabinet, the junk closet upstairs, and that drawer in the kitchen where you stash all the wine corks. With just a little planning ahead and creativity, you can offset your carbon footprint with a fun night with the girls.

Planning the table décor using things you already have at home is one of the best ways to recycle. Dust off the china you never use or those plates hidden in the top corner of the kitchen cabinet. Don't worry about everything matching because varied patterns add character to the table. Choosing cloth napkins instead of paper saves waste from cluttering up the landfill.

For tablecloths, pull out those bolts of leftover fabric left and drape the table. Or cover the table with large sheets of recycled paper. Scatter non-toxic crayons around and let the girls express their artistic side.

Give your party a theme–and a purpose–by asking guests to save their bottles, magazines, and newspapers for a week. In between sips of wine, pass around twine for everyone to bundle the papers, then load them into your car to transport to the recycling center the next day. If you're looking for party favors, consider giving reusable water bottles or personalized cloth lunch sacks to keep your guests in the green mindset long after the party is over.

The Bar
There are several brands of organic liquors available and organic juices. Organic and biodynamic wines have become more readily available as well. If you offer coffee with dessert, serve fair trade coffee.

To lesson any waste from the evening, try to use real glasses tonight for all the drinks. Cloth bar napkins are best, but if paper is a must, look for ones made from recycled materials at party stores and some grocery stores.

The Food
When shopping for ingredients, first check with local farmers' markets. Buying local means that the food didn't have to travel for many miles to get to your kitchen. You're supporting the local economy and saving petroleum at the same time. Most communities have many local products available, like honey, bread, cheese, eggs, milk and produce. If some local ingredients aren't available, check out the organic section in the grocery store.

The Extras
Entertain with ease by following 10 Easy Tips from to green-up your next backyard cookout. From keeping bugs at bay to getting the grill going with ease to unique serving pieces, the staff at has vetted ideas for top-notch parties that are big on fun and easy on the environment.

If you're looking for more ways to go green at home, browse suggestions on how to green up your kitchen or decorate with recycled accents.

The Party Plan

2 Days Before

  • Set up glasses on the bar.
  • Make spritzers.

The Day Before:

  • Make yogurt cream for the dessert.
  • Make bean dip.
  • Freeze slushy mixture.

2–4 Hours Before

  • Roast the chicken for dinner and pears for dessert in the same oven.
  • Make a batch of spritzers and chill until serving over ice.

1 Hour Before:

  • Break up slushies. Keep bowl of slush in freezer.

Before the Guests Arrive

  • Toss the salad.

Rebecca Lang is a well-known cooking instructor, author, and food writer. She teaches Girls' Night In classes around the country and lives in Athens, Georgia.