How to Have A Sustainable Graduation Party

With December upon us already, some of our current UK students will be gearing up for the big day they have been patiently waiting for – graduation. 

Whether you’re celebrating your big day or hosting a soon-to-be graduate, you may want to consider celebrating in a way that reduces waste and harmful environmental and societal impact. Here’s how!

1. Digital Photo Albums

If you are planning on hiring an event photographer or setting up a selfie booth, consider swapping your printed photos for digital options instead. Not only will you cater to the individuals who prefer wallet-size photos over their 8×10 framed photos, but you’ll be reducing the amount of paper you use! 

Digital applications such as Google Photos allow individuals to create shared photo albums with multiple people via a link to your email! 

If you own an iPhone, this feature is made easier as Apple has allowed for shared albums through the photos app on their device. Even better, Apple lets other individuals add their photos to the album as well! Now everyone can make the most out of their memories! 

2. E-Invites

Along with digital photo albums, e-invites allow you to reduce the amount of paper you use! There are a variety of different ways you can use your phone to let others know of your upcoming day. Some may prefer to send out a simple text message while others may create a Facebook group specifically for the event where others can RSVP. However you decide to let your friends and family know, try sending the invites out over the phone this year, if you can! 

3. Alternatives to Confetti

Traditional confetti is made with small plastic and glitter particles that end up in our waterways where they can harm wildlife. Instead, try using alternatives such as biodegradable or compostable materials such as leaves or flowers! Flower petals are my favorite, as you can purchase a bouquet from a local farmers market, snap some photos with your flowers, then collect the petals to be used as make-shift confetti! The effects are beautiful and very effective. 

Another alternative for confetti is to use your computer skills to add confetti to your images! Applications on your phone such as PicsArt allow creators to add confetti to their images using the brush tool! 

4. Keep it Local

There are many delicious options for food and drink that are local to where we live! Eating local means your food doesn’t have to travel as far to arrive on your plate, so it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and benefits the local economy. I might be biased, but I also think eating local food just tastes better! 

5. Signs, Decor, and More

Thinking about some cute additions to your selfie-booth or even your cap and gown pictures? Utilize the items you own before you buy! Reusable signs such as chalkboards are great additions to any graduation photo! The ability to customize the writing on your sign makes it unique to you. You can decorate old picture frames, cardboard, and even plywood to create beautiful additions to your selfie-booth or even for your table. 

6. Rent or Borrow

If you know someone who still has their cap and gown, ask them if you can rent or borrow it for your photos and/or graduation ceremony! Not only will you save yourself a good chunk of change, but you help continue the lifecycle of a good piece of clothing. Don’t know anyone who has their cap and gown? Don’t be afraid to ask around! Facebook is a great tool to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Facebook has many groups filled with students from your college who might just have what you’re looking for! 

You don’t have to check everything off of this list to contribute to having a sustainable graduation this year. The best thing you can do for our environment is to be mindful. With mindfulness, you help contribute to the wellness of our future. If you or someone you know is graduating soon, be sure to pass along this list of things to keep in mind for their big day! You might just save them a dollar or two along the way. 

Niamh Dennny

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