We all want to make the decisions we can be proud of, so how do we go about ensuring decision is the right one for both us, and the environment?
If you’ve been around a while you’ll know I’m not about being perfect. So before you jump in, let’s just clear that up once and for all – you’re human. You can’t do EVERYTHING. Let go of those preconceptions, and allow yourself to focus on the stuff that really matters to you. Only then will you be able to make true change, build confidence and slowly, step by step, expand your focus.
Still not convinced? Take a look at my post: “So, what actually is an eco-wedding” where I go into why it’s important we don’t take the sink or swim approach, and why actually – it’s totally okay that we all have different eco-focuses and strengths.
So about those decisions.
Here’s how I approach them:
The conception, or as I like to call it: “before”
Let’s take the example of a simple wedding bouquet, (this is a wedding planning blog after all).
Before you get your bouquet it needs to be created.
So what goes into creating it?
Where did the flowers and other elements come from? Were they grown locally or have they travelled for miles to get to you? Are they in season where they were grown? Or were artificial conditions such as a coal powered green house used to allow them to grow to commercial quality?
And now that they’re grown, transported and in your florists hands, how will they be arranged? Is your florist familiar with and using eco-friendly floristry techniques, or are they loading your bouquet up with single-use products like tape and foam?
You can see how it’s easy to get a little out of control. Reign it in, and only go back as far as you’re comfortable. If looking into a concept too deeply is causing you a whole heap of anxiety or stress, tone it down! You’re planning a wedding! You’ve got enough pressure on you without falling into the depths of this rabbit hole too.
Remember that little statement at the start: you’re human. You can’t do EVERYTHING. Stop where you’re comfortable, it’s all about the baby steps! Those big changes will come with time.
The current, otherwise known as: “during”
Once you’ve established what boundaries you’d like to put in place for their creation, you can move on to the ‘during’.
What are you using that bouquet for. Do you really even need it to begin with? Remember here: the key to reducing unnecessary waste is to reduce consumption in the first place. How can you make the bouquet really earn it’s place in your wedding? Are you confident you’re making enough out of it to justify it being there?
Perhaps you could have the bouquet in your hands as you walk down the aisle, in a vase as you sign your marriage licence and hung over the entrance to your reception marquee as your guests dance the night away.
Think outside the square! Get creative! (and remember, we’re not juuuuust talking about bouquets here…)
The destruction, a.k.a “after”
So what happens afterwards?
Let’s keep rolling with this bouquet – so can it be composted? Or was it built using those wires, tapes and foams we talked about? Perhaps it was dyed, or even chemically treated to keep it perfect over those miles of travel. All of these things and more can result in that bouquet being unsuitable for compost.
Maybe instead you want to save it as a keepsake and have it pressed or dried. Or perhaps you’re looking at gifting it to someone who needs a pick me up, or a local charity or rest home where it will be loved and cherished.
But if we’re taking the donations route, then you could consider that actually, we’re still in the during stage – repurposing and getting as much out of this bouquet as we absolutely can to make it’s creation and the resources required worthwhile. So what happens after the donation? When the flowers inevitably die, how will the people you’ve donated it to dispose of it?
Shall we cycle back to the compost question? . . .
I get it, the concept of being eco-friendly and making well-rounded, holistic eco-friendly decisions can be more than a little daunting. Being eco-friendly means so many different things to so many different people and attempting to encapsulate all that “eco-friendly” is, is no easy feat.
But the key to remember is consideration.
You can’t always be perfect, but if you’re confident you’ve considered the possibilities and options, allowed yourself to look into some creative solutions and how others might tackle it, and then come to your own conclusion on what will work best for you and your unique situation. How can you go wrong?
That final answer won’t always be the most eco-friendly answer, but that’s okay. As long as you understand why you’ve chosen it, what it’s impacts are, and why it’s still the best solution for you.
You see where I’m coming from? This is just one example of something that can be made so much more eco-friendly if you put a little thought into the full lifecycle and start to consider some alternative ways of creating, using and disposing of things.
How do you run through eco-decisions? Let’s share some tips and trick’s in the comments!
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Emerald and Ebony – Planning Eco-friendly weddings in Taranaki and beyond.