Eco friendly entertaining is important for the planet. And with the ban on single-use plastic growing in many locations, it will soon become mandatory. But can outdoor parties using sustainable items also be chic? With these eco friendly luxury home décor brands, the answer is an emphatic yes. Our correspondent Julie Chang Murphy has done the research, and she’s sharing the best eco friendly luxury tabletop items from home décor brands right now that are perfect for a sustainable outdoor dinner party, including napkins, straws and more.
can eco friendly entertaining actually be chic?
Before the ban on plastic straws started sweeping the nation, I must sheepishly admit: I never considered their environmental impact. So small and inconspicuous, it seemed like plastic bags and water bottles were the big baddies, and more deserving of outright bans.[white_box]
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Seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly now there are all these alternatives to plastic straws– made of metal and paper, but also corn and wheat at our favorite cafes and restaurants. Was it that easy? Then why haven’t we been using them the whole time?
It got us thinking about our summer entertaining plans. We love hosting get-togethers and parties in the summer. There is a relaxed, spontaneous and casual quality to them that takes some of the stress out of prepping and decorating. And when the host or hostess feels like things are under control, the guests can let loose too. And that’s when the fun happens.
But we wondered: can an eco friendly outdoor dinner party also be luxury chic?
non-disposable items are an eco friendly option
One easy way to host an eco friendly dinner party this summer is to use only glass, china and silver to set your buffet table or poolside portable tray. Bring out the cloth napkins and tablecloths. No waste to dispose of, and if you are mindful about you wash them afterward, you’re good to go.
After all, that’s the original Old School way.
Paper and plastic became the go-to solutions for hosts of outdoor parties mostly because of the easy cleanup. Plus their affordability and ease of storage. And hey – there are so many attractive color and motif options that paper and plastic party décor can be hard to resist. Especially for informal gatherings.
But why not use your favorite non-disposable items? Well . . . it’s not quite that easy. Some of us don’t own a set of 24 plates. And if we do, we might not want to risk breaking them when little ones are running around in bare feet. Some hate washing up after a party. And some just don’t have the storage space to make this a practical reality.
We’ve been to outdoor parties where the impeccable hostess provides real flatware, wrapped in beautiful and sturdy cloth napkins, and porcelain dinnerware for 30 or more guests. And can we just say that we prefer to attend those kinds of parties, rather than host them? Hint: Find yourself a Type-A friend who lives in a home with a lot of storage and shelving. And get them to host all the gatherings. You bring the wine. Done!
eco friendly home décor brands to the rescue
For the rest of us, though, let’s exercise some agency. In fact, let’s challenge ourselves to use more sustainable tabletop décor this summer. The options out there now are elegant and modern – and also sturdy enough to hold all the food coming off the grill. Their neutral palettes work with any theme, and they’re a great conversation starter.
Imagine this conversation in your yard this summer:
You: “Did you know these plates are made from sugarcane?”
Your guest: “Really? To think sugar was such a luxury that it used to be known as “white gold.” Now we’re using it to hold hot dogs!”
You: “Ha Ha Ha! Oh Beau, you are a hoot!”
See? It’s a no-brainer, just like non-plastic straws. Here are some terrific options for hosting an eco friendly outdoor dinner party that we’ve scouted out just in time for Memorial Day and beyond.
the best eco friendly luxury items for an outdoor dinner party
Here are the eco friendly home décor brands we found to be both stylish and functional.
Eco friendly Straws
1. FinalStraw Rainbow metal straws.
Summer beverages require straws. Lemonades, Mojitos, Pina Coladas. For a flashy, reusable option for eco-friendly entertaining, you don’t just have to go with stainless steel. On Etsy, there are a treasure trove of finishes, like these straws in rose gold (swoon). You’ll even find engraved options with custom phrases like “Sip Sip Hooray” and “The Last Straw.”
We’re partial to these rainbow-hued metal straws from The FinalStraw. They also come in silver, and there are almost 10 different choices for the color of their holding case. A cleaning brush is included.
BUY NOW: $19.95.
2. MoMA Design Store Two-Tone Glass Straws.
Glass straws are another elevated reusable option. This set from the MoMA Design Store includes six 7.5-inch glass straws made from true-colored borosilicate (the main ingredient in Pyrex products which makes them shatterproof). Just imagine these colorful two-tone straws coming out of a pretty, fruity drink. Don’t forget to Instagram!
BUY NOW: $28 for a set of 6 straws.
3. Brush with Bamboo organic bamboo drinking straws.
Tropical straws and tropical drinks are a match made in heaven. These 10-inch bamboo straws from the brand Brush with Bamboo are made from whole organic bamboo stalks, and each one is hand-crafted by artisans in Northeast India. They are biodegradable and reusable. Wash them with gentle soap and water or with a pipe cleaner.
BUY NOW: $20 for a package of 12.
4. Hay natural wheat drinking straws.
For a similar look, check out these straws made from 100% natural wheat stems. Just don’t give them to someone who is going carb-free, because they kind of look like spaghetti!
BUY NOW: $8.00 for 100 straws.
5. Plasticless compostable straws.
For less formal affairs, there are compostable straws made from plants. You can’t even tell the difference between these and plastic straws. So you might want to properly label them, lest everyone think you’re some kind of earth-hating monster.
BUY NOW: $15.99 for 200 straws.
Eco Friendly Luxury Plates and Cups
We know there is something wonderfully nostalgic about using those shiny red plastic plates and cups. But you won’t even miss them once you see these infinitely more eco friendly options.
6. Wasara Collection tree-free compostable plates and cups.
Wasara produces everything from plates, bowls, tumblers, and trays with tree-free renewable materials (sugar cane fibers, bamboo and reed pulps). The items are compostable and sturdy. And the sophisticated minimalist Japanese design is so chic that the Cooper Hewitt has several of the brand’s pieces in its permanent collection. Just be sure to plan ahead, as these products are so popular that they’re frequent sold out online.
BUY NOW: $124.99 for a pack of 400 plates.
7. Bambu Home organic bamboo plates and flatware.
If you want to stick with bamboo for that timeless earthy look, Bambu has been using certified organic and renewable bamboo for the last 15 years. They offer a variety of plates, serving pieces, flatware and napkins in their Veneerware collection. If you’ve ever been to Asia, where bamboo is commonly used as scaffolding, you can rest assured that these plates can handle your (I mean, my) massive appetite.
BUY NOW: $11.90 for eight 9-inch plates.
8. VerTerra Palm Leaf Plates and Cutlery.
Palm leaf is another 100% renewable resource that is used for disposable tabletop items. It looks like wood, making it perfectly harmonious with outdoor entertaining. No trees are ever harvested or cut down for VerTerra’s plates, trays and utensils. And no chemicals, waxes, dyes or additives are applied. We were surprised to learn that they are also microwave safe.
BUY NOW: $13.99 for twenty five 10-inch plates.
9. Stalkmarket sugarcane plates.
After the juice is extracted from sugarcane, the dry pulpy residue leftover is known as bagasse. Bagasse is used to create simple plates, bowls and cups. The items are compatible with cold and hot foods – and microwave safe, as well.
BUY NOW: $11.39 for 50 plates.
10. Shop With Green Wheat Straw Plates and Cups.
If you prefer a more substantial look, but don’t want to risk your porcelain breaking around the barefoot brigade by the pool, these lightweight wheat straw plates, bowls and cups come are eco-friendly, unbreakable and can handle being put in the dishwasher and microwave. They come in appealing muted tones so you don’t have to sacrifice style either.
BUY NOW: $21.99 for a set of 4 plates.
11. Susty Party Compostable Cocktail Napkins.
To complete your eco-friendly soirée, compostable cocktail napkins are a must-have. Susty Party Supplies in Brooklyn stocks lots of fun prints and patterns from which to choose.
BUY NOW: $7.99 for 200 cocktail napkins.
12. MyDRAP coordinating placemats and napkins.
These cocktail napkins are compostable. But before you do that, they can be washed and reused up to 5 times.
Eco-friendly home décor brand MYdrap offers a suite of attractive patterns, so you can mix and match your napkins and placemats.
BUY NOW: 12 luncheon napkins or 6 dinner napkins for $14.27.
13. Hester & Cook eco friendly placemats.
If you set a very high bar for eco friendly luxury tabletop items, we urge you to have a look at these placemats and napkins from Hester & Cook. We love their tear-off placements and napkins, which feature gorgeous whimsical prints and illustrations that are printed with soy-based ink on recycled craft paper.
BUY NOW: $37.00 for 24 single-use placemats.
14. Letjolt Paper Flower Party Decorations.
There’s a plethora of recycled paper and tissue paper decorations that can take the place of traditional balloons. For example, these luxury paper dahlias from the Letjolt brand can add an eco friendly festive flair to a wedding shower or other party.
BUY NOW: $44.99 for 8 pieces.
15. Bloomin Seed “Growfetti”
Here’s a brilliant and fun idea: instead of plastic party decorations and favors, go eco friendly with a luxury twist with “Growfetti.” The handmade, eco-friendly seed papers come in fun shapes and colors that can be tossed around like confetti. When the party’s over, soak them overnight, tear them up, plant them under a thin layer of soil, and water regularly. Soon you’ll see green shoots! The company says its products are made from recycled paper dyed with all-natural, vegetable-based pigments, in corn-based packaging. They’re even made in a solar-powered production facility.
BUY NOW: $21.00 for a package of 100 favors.
the best eco friendly luxury brands and items for an outdoor dinner party
Ok, party people! Items from these eco friendly luxury home décor brands are all available in bulk qualities and are quite affordable. So you have no excuse not to have them on hand all summer. Whether its for a wedding, baby shower, Memorial Day cookout, or an impromptu dinner with friends and family under the stars, you can be an eco friendly outdoor dinner party host hero.
Are you ready to join the challenge, dear reader? Let’s go save the earth, one party at a time.
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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.
Crediting her training as a cultural anthropologist at Wellesley College, Julie has immersed herself in various industries in the last 15 years including fashion design, event planning, and fitness. Julie lives in New York where she loves trying every ramen and dumpling restaurant with her husband and three children. She finds joy in bold prints, biographies of fierce women, kickboxing. And spending way too long finding the perfect polish color to express her mood.