Green is the color most associated with St. Patrick’s Day, and green also can be the primary mindset of hosts and hostesses when planning Paddy’s Day revelry. As celebrants prepare to pay homage to Irish culture and the accomplishments of St. Patrick, they can include eco-conscious practices in the festivities.
For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is a day to let loose and have a good time. Parades are abundant, and food and drink often are enjoyed in copious amounts. While this excess can make for a fun and raucous day, those who are conscious of their carbon footprints can scale back in some clever ways.
Enjoy a local brew
While many may prefer a pint of Ireland-brewed Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day, imported beers have larger carbon footprints than local beers thanks to trans-Atlantic shipping and delivery to nearby retailers. Instead of Guinness, consider a locally-brewed beer. Homespun breweries are a growing niche business in communities big and small. If you’re more adventurous, invest in a home-brewing kit and try your luck with your own flavor profile.
Skip the confetti or ticker tape
Attending a parade can be the pinnacle of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. When so many people gather in one place, there’s a greater propensity for waste and litter. Although garbage cannot be avoided, towns and cities can help curtail the mess by avoiding confetti, balloon drops and ticker tape. Birds routinely get snagged by balloon strings, or they may inadvertently swallow popped latex balloons thinking they’re food. Confetti can wash away into storm drains or clog sewers. Bubbles, laser lights and other plastic- or paper-free items can be used instead and are better for the environment.
Invest in reusable products
If your’s is the go-to house for St. Patrick’s Day revelry, purchase tablecloths, dishes and cups that can be used again and again. This cuts down on the number of disposable items that get put in the trash and eventually find their way into landfills.
Transform your leftovers
Irish soda bread, corned beef, potatoes and much more are par for the culinary course come St. Patrick’s Day. Rather than discarding leftovers, consider recipes that will put those leftovers to good use. Dice up the corned beef to add to egg dishes or quiches. Post-Paddy’s Day sandwiches also make a delicious treat. Potatoes can be mashed and transformed into croquettes. Or they can be diced to make hash browns to go with those corned beef-enhanced eggs. Spread soda bread with a sweet jam and instantly turn it into a dessert. Or crumble the bread to use in a delicious bread pudding.
Splurge on an experience
Rather than material goods, if you want to set your party apart, invest in an experience that produces no waste. Contract with Uilleann pipers who can add a Celtic flair to the festivities. Although bagpipes are more widely associated with the Scottish, they have become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as well.