I love St. Patrick's Day! It's the day after my birthday, and I'm always up for a holiday centered around food and beer. As you plan your St. Patty's celebration, you can make it greener than ever by choosing food and drinks that are as good for the planet as they are tasty and opting for eco-friendly decorations.
Green Beer for St. Patrick's Day
No, I don't mean adding a few drops of food coloring to your pint. Most conventional food colorings are full of nasty chemicals. Instead, why not look for a beer that's as good for the planet as it is delicious? Local beer is always a great option - you're reducing your food miles and supporting the loconomy with every tasty pint.
If you can't find local brews, try ordering a Sierra Nevada or something from Left Coast Brewing. Those companies run their breweries on solar power, so you can feel good even as you overindulge.
Determined to dye that beer green? Look into safe, food-based dyes rather than the more common chemical alternatives.
Eating Green on St Patrick's Day
Instead of artificial dyes, why not incorporate some actual greens into your St. Patrick's Day meal? Even better: you can celebrate with some vegan Irish dishes for a cruelty free St. Patrick's Day! Some dishes, like colcannon, are super simple to veganize. Just replace the milk with a vegan milk substitute, like organic soy or almond, use olive oil in place of the butter, and skip the bacon. If you still want that smoky flavor, try a small amount of bottled liquid smoke or using smoked salt in place of table salt in the recipe.
Green St. Patrick's Day Decor
Instead of disposable party store shamrocks and paper plates, you can reduce the waste from your celebration by making decorations yourself out of reclaimed materials. Here are a few ideas:
- Cut shamrock shapes out of junk mail, paint them green, and glue or staple the tops to ribbon for recycled St. Patrick's Day bunting.
- Choose reusable dishware and utensils instead of disposables. You can make your table St. Patty's-themed in other ways.
- Make Shamrock place cards by cutting the shapes from thin cardboard (empty six packs are a great source for cardboard), writing folks' names on them, and seating each shamrock in an old wine cork with a slit cut in the top.
- Instead of a tacky centerpiece, use actual green potted plants to decorate your space. Wheat grass, indoor moss decor, or succulents all give your table a bit of green without all of the waste.
When it comes time to clean up, you're going to want to compost those food scraps and make sure you recycle all of those bottles and cans!
What are some ways you're greening up your St. Patrick's Day celebrations this year? I'd love to hear more ideas in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by gurms