Zero waste wedding stationery. What is it and is it actually even possible? Well, to start, let’s have a little look at the concept of ‘zero waste’ and what it actually means. Zero waste is a term being used more and more by those adopting an eco conscious lifestyle. It essentially means that you aim to send nothing to landfill. Is that practical and ever possible? Probably not, but let’s think about ‘going zero waste’ as an aim rather than a final destination. The ethos of the zero waste movement is to make little changes and improvements to reduce or eliminate waste as often as you can. All these little steps, actioned by many many people add up to big impacts.
So how do you apply the zero waste concept to weddings and in particular wedding stationery. Can you have zero waste wedding stationery?
Because wedding stationery is by definition a single-use item, then I’m not sure you can ever find a perfectly zero waste solution (short of just not having any). However, there are a whole host of steps you can take to drastically reduce the waste associated with wedding stationery. Here are my top tips for getting closer to zero waste wedding stationery:
1. Don’t over order, only buy what you need
While it’s tempting to ‘round up to the nearest 10 to have a few spares’ it’s all too easy to end up with a pile of unused, waste stationery items after the wedding. Work out your numbers carefully and only order what you need and choose a stationery supplier who can make as close to the number you actually need as possible.
2. Minimise the number of actual items of wedding stationery you need
Make the most of wedding stationery items that can double up, here are a few ideas:
- Printing guest name on menus instead of having place cards and separate menus
- If you do need to include a reply card with your invites, why not make it a postcard and save an envelope for each one
- A sign that incorporates your welcome message as well as your order of the day
- Make a donation to your favourite charity instead of giving your guests traditional wedding favours
3. Choose digital options for zero waste wedding stationery
You might not want to send fully digital invitations, but compromise is OK. Remember it’s all about lots of us making small changes. Setting up guest info on a web page and requesting replies via email or phone can drastically reduce the amount of paper need for your invites. Or how about sending a digital save the date card and then following up with a printed invitation?
4. Avoid the glitter and bling that cannot be reused or easily recycled
Embellishments, glitter and many ribbons can’t be recycled. Avoiding these on your invitations and stationery will mean less waste eventually ends up in landfill. There are many beautiful, printed designs using recycled and sustainable materials that will help to reduce waste. Take a browse through my eco wedding stationery collections for inspiration. Sustainable doesn’t have to mean rustic brown paper & jute twine!
5. For zero waste wedding stationery, choose materials that can be composted or even planted
Uncoated, simply printed paper and card can be easily recycled or composted. Or, for almost completely zero waste wedding stationery, how about plantable paper. Embedded with wildflower seeds, your printed invitations and stationery can be planted afterwards giving your guests a beautiful, bee-friendly blooming reminder of your big day. I’ve designed a beautiful, capsule collection of plantable, seedpaper wedding stationery for my sister company Green Manatee. Head over and check it out, link below.
6. Work with an eco conscious designer who will minimise the waste in the production process
I am very conscious of the waste I produce as a business. Wherever possible I reuse and repurpose offcuts of paper and card either into smaller items of stationery like place cards and tags. Any paper or card that can’t be made into something else gets reused around the studio as note paper, file labels etc. I am also very careful with my packaging of finished orders. Wherever possible I reuse any incoming packaging. When I do use new packaging I am careful to select easily recyclable or compostable tissue paper, cardboard boxes and paper bags. Wherever I can I try to find packaging that is made from recycled materials.
Read more about my commitment to making eco conscious wedding stationery and minimising my waste here
So, zero waste wedding stationery – is it actually possible?
Now, I appreciate that none of these tips will result in perfectly zero waste wedding stationery. But, as I mentioned at the beginning the zero waste ethos is about taking small steps in the right direction, about making progress over achieveing perfection. Being conscious of what your stationery is made of, considering how it will be disposed of after the wedding and being careful about the quantities you order will go a long way to reducing the waste. I love this quote that, for me, sums up the idea of zero waste fabulously.
Good luck with your zero waste wedding stationery journey. I’d love to know what steps you take to make your wedding that little bit more eco friendly. Why not head over to Instagram and tell me what you’re up to.