The only green concerns most college kids have upon setting foot in a party are the bottles of Heineken lining the counter and the emerald shirt their crush is wearing. On debaucherous fall evenings, thoughts of environmental activism may be fleeting. But maintaining a party's social appeal, while pleasing fellow collegiate environmentalists , is possible.
Neutralize pesky Solo cups.
In the realm of American partying, the red Solo cup reigns supreme. But, in addition to dulling your inhibitions, booze might lead you to forget just how detrimental these lightweight, liquor-holding receptacles are to the environment. Although Solo cups are cheap, some recycling centers don’t accept them , and decomposition can take hundreds of years . Still, solutions exist ! For smaller gatherings, consider opening your cabinets to guests — after all, who cares about a few extra dishes if you’re saving the environment? If throwing a larger party — looking at you, bro — purchase Solo’s less-iconic, but environmentally-friendlier option instead. And, if you find yourself at a party with only red plastic cups, mark yours with your name and reuse it through the night.
Green stuff in your green cup.
So, you’ve upped the eco-friendliness of your drinking device — now what about its contents? Stay away from larger distribution beers, because many of them (like Heineken or Budweiser) use more water when brewing than their craft counterparts . However, one exception to the rule is Sierra Nevada, which places a premium on producing sustainable products . Meanwhile, plenty of distilleries embrace environmentally-friendly agendas. Most of these businesses achieve their goals by utilizing old-school techniques: organic, local ingredients, efficiently used.
Use bikes for power!
Do you think we’re joking? Those endless hours spent on the dance floor, under the energy-consuming assault of strobe lights and booming music, burn through electricity and bump your power bill, too. Kits designed to transform stationary bikes into power producers are surprisingly common ; an athletic adult can produce as many as 500 watts an hour using a correctly-equipped bicycle. In fact, San Francisco’s Bicycle Music Festival has already impressively expanded this concept, using bicycle-generated power to keep the event going. Plus, taking a turn on the bicycle will counteract some of the calories contained in your eco-friendly liquors.
Remember to recycle.
Fair enough, recycling cans and bottles is a no-brainer. But, at the rate that college kids blow through racks of Natty Light (hint: an exceptionally quick rate), reminders help. Asking guests to recycle is easy enough, but taking eco-policing to the next level can help green your party. Post a couple signs around your house or apartment with gentle reminders for guests to properly dispose of their waste. Clearly designate which cans are for garbage and which ones are for recyclables — or, better yet, streamline the process by purchasing only recyclable containers to being with. Remember: Drunks love simplicity.
Green your natural instincts.
In a romantic relationship? Don’t end the night on a bad note! As you stumble to the bedroom with your significant other, content with your eco-friendly partying accomplishments, take a moment to consider green bedtime options. Seriously, using environmentally-conscious sex products, including toys, condoms, and lubricant, can make a difference. Not sure where to start? Fortunately, The Green Life has you covered . Saving the world has never been so sexy.
Eric Brown is an editorial intern at Sierra. An Eagle Scout who has hiked in Denali National Park and kayaked down the Snake River, Eric thinks the world is worth saving, even if it has given him his fair share of sunburns. In the fall, he will be a senior at Northwestern University's Medill School, where he enjoys writing about music and editing for North by Northwestern.