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Your wedding should be a reflection of the love that you and that special someone share. From the moment you say “yes”, to the second you declare “I do”, you will plan every detail of the big day. Of course, it’s important to have a wedding that is uniquely you, and that will require learning about all your options for things like flowers, music, and tableware. Here, we share our tips to help you find some of the more eco-friendly options to create a memorable event.

Earth-friendly Like You’ve Never Seen It

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One of our favorite trends is the use of environmentally friendly responsible materials for everything from wedding rings to lively table linens. Shop for products made of renewable or biodegradable materials, or try using what you have on hand. Eco-chic is all about thinking outside the box.

When it comes to choosing dinnerware for your reception, there’s more to consider than just ‘paper or plastic’. The word plastic may conjure up images of a floating mass of trash in the ocean or bags hanging from a tree, but, when disposed of properly, plastics can be recycled. There are even some that are made of plant materials and can be composted. And what about paper — Is it as planet-safe as they say?

Naturally Beautiful

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There are pros and cons with every choice, but here are some of the basics of disposable tableware to help you make the best decision for your special day:

  • PET: Traditional plastics are made from petroleum products. Not all of this can be melted down and repurposed because of the harmful chemicals involved, but PET (polyethylene terephthalate)   can be! So, although plates, utensils, and cups made from petroleum are from non-renewable sources, they are often recyclable. Just be sure to check for the small “please recycle” label stamped on the item, and give them a rinse before placing them in the appropriate green or blue bins.
  • PLA: There are the plastics made from plant sources like PLA (polylactic acid), which is a chemical derived from cornstarch. This dinnerware can be easily broken down by bacteria, but only if disposed of properly. For example, they will not decompose in a landfill or in a home compost system. There are facilities, however, that can be biodegrade PLA products, so you can enjoy the delicious cake at the reception without worrying about all those dishes.

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  • Sugarcane: Last of the renewable plastics is the kind sourced from sugarcane. The pulp left over after juicing sugar cane is called bagasse, and its fibrous nature is a great building block for bowls and plates that look like porcelain. The best part  is that, because it’s plat fiber, it’s compostable, even in a home set-up.

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  • Traditional Paper: We haven’t mentioned paper yet, but it is another option in the realm of disposable plates. Paper can be recycled and trees are a renewable resource when forests are managed properly, but the production of paper is more energy intensive than that of plastic.
  • Plant Leaves: Bamboo and palm leaves can be pressed into very unique shapes. The plant does not have to be harvested to get the raw materials, and the end-product, typically eco- friendly plates and bowls, are entirely compostable. Even better, the dinnerware made from leaves will have an organic look that evokes images of warm, tropical beaches.

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  • Bamboo and Wood: Crafting dishes from wood can take finesse, which could be why they are a bit more expensive than others. But, if you’re looking for something will a light, natural wood grain and sturdy build, these are totally worth it! Wooden items are also inherently biodegradable, as long as they haven’t been treated harmful chemicals.

Now For the Fun Part!

So, as we said, there are pluses and minuses for each choice. Some are pricier, while others may require a special process to dispose of them in an environmentally sound way. Now that you’re armed with some basic knowledge, however, you can plan and shop accordingly.

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Just remember, the serving ware you opt for can really complement the food being serve, as well as the decor you spent so much time considering. There is sure to be something that is exactly what you’ve been looking for  and will fit into the design of your dream wedding. So, have your them in mind as you scroll through pages or walk down aisles of napkins, cups, utensils, and plates, and have fun!

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Author Bio: Casey Pontrelli is a freelance writer and content strategist. She has collaborated with a variety of industry insiders and worked with a number of brands, writing about everything from events, to fashion, travel and more.

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