It’s that time of year to gather with loved ones, exchange gifts, and raise our glasses to bid adieu to the past and greet the new year. It so happens that the holiday season is also the time of year when waste vastly increases. The good news is that a few simple tweaks are all it takes to reduce that statistic. That’s why we’ve partnered with Nespresso—a company committed to recycling and agroforestry—to showcase eco-conscious entertaining this holiday season. The following guide is inspired by Nespresso’s sustainably sourced and eco-conscious event as part of the coffee brand’s sponsorship of world-renowned Art Basel Miami Beach.
By committing the resources to help conserve millions of trees in the Amazon rainforest, and working with American Forests to help conserve three diverse and endangered ecosystems in Hawaii, California, and Texas, Nespresso is planting the gift of joy and hope.
As you may have guessed, sending digital invitations is the easiest way to spread the word about your party without spreading paper waste. For those who prefer the traditional route of handwritten invitations, there are eco-friendly alternatives. Write each guest a note on recycled paper, or make a more lasting impression by using seed paper—a biodegradable paper embedded with seeds—which can be planted to produce wildflowers, herbs, or even vegetables.
Skip the single-use plastics like balloons and opt instead for the gifts of nature. Coordinate with a local flower shop or farm to decorate your tables with seasonal florals, small plants, or even mini cornucopias of fresh fruits and vegetables, which guests can take home afterward. For additional festive touches, hang paper lanterns and garlands made with rice paper, and add to the ambiance with beeswax candles. If you’re going all out, use biodegradable confetti.
Décor doesn’t have to stop when you sit down at the table. Consider alternatives for how your food and drinks will be served by purchasing compostable items like biodegradable cocktail napkins and bamboo cutlery.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, food waste during the holiday season increases by 25 percent. One way to avoid this is to plan ahead for an environmentally sustainable menu that yields minimal waste.
Use a menu-planning app to calculate how much food and drink you’ll need for your guests. Take the root-to-stem approach by keeping your menu plant-based and utilizing every part of each ingredient. Support local butchers and farmers’ markets as much as possible by turning to them for ingredients to highlight at your party.
If you are a host who prefers to overestimate when it comes to your menu, we get it! Nobody wants to be known as the host with hungry guests. Have a game plan for leftovers, like partnering with a local food bank or having reusable containers on hand so your guests can take leftovers home.
Allow your guests to assist in your zero-waste efforts by having readily available and well-marked recycling bins as well as trash cans at your party.
Now’s the time to get really creative with your zero-waste menu! Impress your guests with an array of sustainable cocktails by incorporating the overlooked parts of some ingredients as more than just garnishes.
Muddle leftover fruit peels with sugar to make a simple syrup. Boil apple cores to create an apple juice you can incorporate into bourbon for an excellent hot toddy. Infuse higher-proof spirits with pepper seeds and stems (spicy mezcal, anyone?). You can even use leftover fats (butter, bacon, steak) to “wash” your (alcoholic) spirits and make a terrific Old Fashioned or Hot Buttered Rum.
And remember, just because you’re calling it a cocktail party does not mean it needs to be all about the alcohol. Get inventive with fruity, citrusy, and spicy mocktails and hot drinks for guests who prefer to keep their drinks non-alcoholic. Create a holiday Nespresso tonic by combining Nespresso coffee with tonic water, ice, and grapefruit. Serve a mocha by mixing Nespresso coffee and hot chocolate or even a Café Liégeois with a shot of Nespresso over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or try a Nespresso Berries in the Forest by combining Nespresso Forest Fruit Coffee with bourbon, crème de cassis, Campari, elderflower liqueur, Chambord, and garnishing with fresh blackberries.
Send your guests home with goodie bags that encourage them to consider sustainability within their own homes. From reusable tote bags to Nespresso limited-edition coffee capsules, there are numerous fun ways to incorporate nature-friendly products into everyday living and entertaining.
For every coffee consumed at Art Basel, Nespresso is donating $1 to American Forests—amounting to over $75,000.
Get inspired by this eco-friendly cocktail party, and incorporate sustainability into your holiday entertainment and gifting with Nespresso.