A magical time to reduce waste and go plastic free

10/12/20

The most wonderful time of the year is finally here... What if we learn to enjoy it differently? The holidays are a time for cheer and celebration but also excess waste and overconsumption. This year, Surfrider Europe wants to highlight that festive moments can be sustainable and that it is possible to enjoy this beautiful time of the year while paying attention to our environment.   


Simple tips for beautiful moments  


The event will be successful if it is sustainable, that’s for sure! How can we do it? Make it as simple as possible. Start by minimizing plastic and packaging in decoration and gifts by replacing them with homemade or second-hand items, reduce food waste by buying only what you need, be careful with your energy consumption... Simplicity is sometimes all we need to create beautiful moments of sharing.    

For the occasion, Opi Kaur, Founder and Creative director of Open the Door Events, shares her expert advice on the subject. Since 2015, she has been imagining, creating and implementing eco-conscious events for her many clients. Her speciality: weddings! Yes, taking advantage of this special moment to make a gift for the environment is possible. Opi tells how...  




Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your business? 

My name is Opi, I’m the founder of Open the Door events, we started creating eco-weddings since 2015. I actually didn’t intend to start a sustainable events business initially, it just happened naturally. I am quite minimalist in my everyday life and when I started to create my first few events, I quickly came to realize how much waste was generated. I was really surprised by it. I noticed how much suppliers keep using plastic instead of reusables, and with wedding cakes, how couples often buy these massive cakes only to throw away the uneaten majority. So I started to try to think differently and minimize waste at my weddings in every area

 

Do you think eco-events will become the standard or it will stay niche? How do you imagine the future of this industry, considering our current environmental crisis? 

For me it is necessary that it becomes the standard. It is already moving in this direction because there are more and more eco-events planners, whereas at the beginning there were maybe one or two in the whole world. I really think that it should, and will become the norm


So what are your tips to get creative in a sustainable way? 

Actually in all my events, my inspiration comes from nature, from the seasons. I try to spend at least an hour everyday outdoors, watch the seasons change, and the colors change. This is my greatest inspiration and the foundation of all my events, as well as the couples and their special relationship.  

One big part in creating my events is choosing the right location. Find a space which is naturally beautiful and where we don’t have to do too much to decorate. Floral decoration, for example, has a surprisingly big negative environmental impact because of all the foam used to create arrangements and also shipping of exotic flowers. It is important to choose florists who source ethically and locally. We’re also testing out some new biodegradable foam in our arrangements. We favor plants instead of flowers and sometimes hire plants from green houses. I encourage my couples to bring back flowers at home after the wedding, even if it’s dried.  

We are also careful on lighting which is a really important element in weddings to create a nice atmosphere. We always use LEDs which are more energy efficient, plus natural candles.

For seating and serving, I love to use wooden tables and chairs that are made of good quality. These can also usually be rented and reused. If we have to buy something, we make sure it is something the client would want to take home or we can use again at another event. We always try to prioritize renting but when we buy, we are really careful about choosing eco and ethical products. 


How do you deal with food waste during events? 

First, I always find a supplier offering local produce and wild, sustainable fish or meat. We always create menus where we try to minimize food waste. We realized that when we offer buffets, we have far less food waste than plating individual dishes because people take only what they want. We are also working with food banks to donate leftover food. Many of my clients come to Spain from different parts of the world and the event will last 2 or 3 days so whatever is not eaten on the first night is almost always finished over the next days. My couples are often really invested in not having any waste.  

We prioritize quality because when you buy something of good quality, you often take better care of it, it is the same with food. They don’t want to throw away good products. We generally don’t have food waste because we plan the right quantities. But when we have, we also always have boxes for people to go back home with a piece of dessert. 


Go and check Surfrider Europe Instagram account to see the whole interview as well as Opi’s tips for eco-friendly celebrations.  


Just as we would offer an extra helping hand in our neighborhoods and communities during this special time of year, we can reach out and help the Ocean by making conscious choices in the ways we celebrate. Let's not forget, this is the most wonderful time of the year to reduce waste and go plastic free!  


Discover all our tips here and share yours on our social networks with #breaktheplasticwave.  

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