Invitation to a Recycling

October 27, 2009

I’m not going to dwell, but I apologize for already not sticking to my Thursday schedule.  I’ll do my best this week.

But I realized I promised in a post awhile ago to write about our invitations.  We kept things pretty simple; we wanted the invites to be fairly cheap, made of recycled paper with as high a post-consumer percentage as possible, and without all the many inserts called for by tradition and paper companies.

First, my dream invites: Earthly Affair Fresh.  I actually love all of the Earthly Affair creations, and their commitment to making the entire process (from production to shipping) as eco-friendly as possible.  Beautiful and thoughtful!  And founder Jennifer Stambolsky runs my absolute favorite wedding blog, full of gorgeous pictures and ideas and products that are often useful no matter where you are in life .  Unfortunately, while they are by no means expensive in the world of wedding invitations, they were outside our budget for the number we needed to buy.  But I’m definitely keeping them in the back of my mind!

What we decided to go with: Invitations by Dawn Delicate Beauty.  These invitations are made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and fit the budget and our color scheme.  And we could order exactly what we wanted: invitations, envelopes, RSVP cards, response envelopes, and thank yous, sent in recycled packaging in a well-packed box.  We got exactly what we wanted as far as requirements go (a girl can still dream of soy-based ink and carbon-offset shipping!).  I also did an online coupon search (can’t stress how often you save quite a bit of money doing this!), making it even cheaper.

So I suggest, as you attempt to find the invitations were meant for you, to just keep your eyes out.  Almost all of the large invitation sellers we looked at had some recycled paper options.  Consumer demand is a powerful thing!  And you can always do a little homework, looking at reviews (you’d probably do that any way) and “about” pages to make sure everything, as in company policies and philosophies, matches with what you want.  And if it doesn’t, keep looking!   There’s an awful lot of options out there.

And you’ve probably already heard the advice that’s in every green wedding planner book/blog/whatever to keep the paper to an absolute minimum; don’t bother with all the inserts.  Use e-mail and websites (and phone calls to grandparents) to send out directions, no need to print those.  We also let people know that RSVPing by e-mail or phone was completely acceptable (just be sure to recycle the cards!), in a tiny effort to reduce stamp waste (both stamps and the paper backing) and transportation.

Bonus link: my friend Alison’s save the dates, which were absolutely stunning (so much so that I just spent 45 minutes trying to find them again because IT’S WORTH IT).

p.s. today’s post title (perhaps obviously) comes from Nabokov’s “Invitation to a Beheading.”  Which I read right before my wedding.  Whoo, happy thoughts?  I never did find an appropriate wedding reading in Nabokov’s work…

I heard yesterday through the Twitter grapevine that today is Blog Action Day 2009.  And that the theme this year is Climate Change.  Basically, it’s a day where bloggers can all join together their posts in order to instigate change.  So I thought it’d be a good day to get back into this blog.

So, it’s official, I’m now Ms. Amy Donahue.  I.e., Mrs. Schuelahue!  Yep, Sept. 6th, came and went, and it was perfect.  So now this blog is still going to be about our green wedding, but on what we actually did, not what we were just thinking about doing.  And we’ll see what happens when I run out of stuff. I’m going to try to stick to a regular schedule; weekly on Thursdays seems like a good way to go.  Perhaps there’ll be a bonus Tuesday occasionally or something.  I’ll announce new posts on my Twitter (hashtag #ecoweddingblog, for those who care), you can use an RSS reader, or you can just check back every so often.

Today’s post is going to incorporate all three R’s (um, reduce, reuse, recycle, just in case you forgot), and it’s going to start with a little story.

Once upon a time there were two people who both loved good beer.  They drank a fairly good amount of it.  And they always recycled their bottles.  But what to do with the caps?  They kept them (for the most part; friends & roommates occasionally didn’t realize…), thinking maybe they’d use them in a good game of caps or something.  Then they got engaged.  And started planning their wedding.  Looking at all the websites and books, they kept seeing silly, kitschy wedding favors that everyone would probably just throw away eventually, contributing in whatever small way (but think cradle to grave here; there’s a lot of petroleum and transportation involved in even the little plastic doo-dads) to climate change.  They wanted to reduce their impact, and buy as little new stuff (also thrifty!) as possible.  So they looked around.  And stumbled upon that giant jar of bottle caps.  Hmmm…There had to be some way to reuse them!

Bottlecap Magnets (although not ours; we havent uploaded the picture yet...)

Bottlecap Magnets (although not ours; we haven't uploaded the picture yet...) Attribution (Creative Commons license): http://www.flickr.com/photos/jopoe/ / CC BY-SA 2.0

And everyone loved them (and wanted more than the 2 each person originally got!).  Moral of the story?  1. Climate change is a big picture thing; talk to your legislators and your energy companies.  But while you’re at it, drink some (local, organic, sustainable, wind/solar energy produced) beer.  The little things just might add up, and just might be useful.  (Seriously, those kitschy favors?  just think twice, that’s all I’m asking).

We did do one other little “gift” for our guests, but you’ll have to stay tuned for that one.  Now go out and read some Blog Action Day posts!

Step 1: Decide you want to compost your wedding scraps.

Step 2: Also decide to use compostable serviceware (plates, utensils, etc.).  This is only a benefit if you decide to actually compost; throwing compostable stuff into the garbage is basically as bad as throwing away the regular stuff; it releases methane (one of the top greenhouse gases) in landfills and is no good to anyone.  There are many cool options; I haven’t decided what we’re going to use yet.  Anyone have any suggestions?  Right now I’m looking at Worldcentric (made of bagasse, or leftover sugarcane fibers), BiodegradableStore.com (various materials), Branch (mostly bagasse), etc.  More or less comparison shopping.  I also love Verterra, but it’s a little out of our budget.

Step 3: Search Google for your location and composting; i.e. “chestertown maryland composting.”

Step 4: Find results for the Warrington Foundation or similar composting organization.  Use contact info to e-mail wedding situation.

Step 5: They e-mail back and let me know that they work with agricultural compost, and can’t do regular food scraps.  But they suggest  contacting the local college, Washington College.

Step 6: Procrastinate, and maybe do other important things like order invitations (next post!).

Step 7: Caterer e-mails me with list of supplies he’ll need…oh, and by the way, his parents (living in Chestertown), would be happy to compost the non-meat scraps and serveware!

Step 8: Celebrate and write blog entry!

So I kind of lucked out.  But seriously, don’t give up if composting is something you want to do!  Contact local schools and state departments, or if you happen to live in an awesome city like Seattle that has composting programs, take advantage of it!  But first, ask your caterer if he/she has any advice.  🙂

p.s. I’m also hoarding yogurt containers (the big ones) and the like that I’ll provide to my guests in case they want to take leftovers home.  No need to buy specialized carry-out containers!  (They’ll be washed, I promise.)