Monday, May 12, 2008

The Lean, Green Book Party

In my other writing life, I write a lot of articles about green and sustainable living. I practice what I preach, too. When I bought a house, I did so in a town where I could walk just about everywhere. I'm a composting fanatic, too, to the point that I'm thinking of getting rid of my garbage disposal. Why? Because everything that would be chopped up goes into the composter, and turned into soil that I'll use in my garden.

So when it came time to plan my book launch party, me and Paige Wolf of Paige Wolf Media & Public Relations (an equally eco girl and composting fanatic) set out to be as green as possible on a limited budget since the PR funds provided from my publisher for the party equals exactly $0 (though, to be fair to my publisher, is typical in the book world).

Here's how we're making a lean, green party:

1. Online invites. Instead of sending out paper invitations, I sent them via Not only did I save money on postage and paper, but it created zero waste, and I could add people to the invite list whenever I wanted. Aside from a technical snafu that sent people about six invitations (a snafu that was probably caused by operator error), it was the perfect free way to get the word out without creating waste.

2. Reusable decor. Paige and I hit up a slew of dollar stores for the decorations that will make the party place seem beachy. Instead of driving from store to store, I took PATCO into Philadelphia and met Paige (who doesn't own a car) in the city to check out the dollar stores along Chestnut. Everything we use will -- things like sand buckets, pails, shovels and toys -- will then be donated to charity after the event. I also put up a request on to see if anyone's trying to get rid of any shore-themed stuff that we can reuse -- then donate.

3. Natural Decorations. I'll be down the shore today for work, and I've blocked out a few hours to hunt for sea shells that we'll use as decor, too (and last night's rain should have put plenty on the shore). Now, I know it might not seem eco friendly to take shells from the beach, but people have been doing it since we first crawled out of the ocean. When I'm back down the shore next weekend for my dad's wedding, I'll bring the shells back to the beach.

4. Repurposed paper. Instead of buying raffle tickets to be used as "one free drink" slips, I went through the two bins of brochures and fliers I picked up while researching the book (pictured above). They're just taking up space since I don't need them anymore (and most are outdated), so I cut the sturdier fliers, brochures and press packets into drink tickets, making sure to cut pieces that included names of restaurants and hotels and what have you that appear in the book. Then I marked them with a "" stamp. Because who wouldn't want their free drink ticket to be a picture of Miss America with inked on her forearm? Not only did I save money on tickets, but I also reused something that would be considered waste. I'm also using baskets and containers and party supplies I already have (and those I raid from my mom's house) instead of buying new. It's cheaper and easier that way, and fights the "disposable culture" trend.

5. Local foods. The food served at the party is strictly local -- well, shore local: Johnson's Popcorn, Shriver's salt water taffy and a cake made by my sister that will be decorated with -- you guessed it -- Shriver's Salt water taffy! All of it will be picked up while I'm down the shore, making my drive down for more than just interviews (e.g. multiple errands on one trip).

6. Mass Transit. I picked a party location in Center City. Why? Because this party is for family, friends and colleagues (I'll be having shore ones later this month), and I wanted it to be in a spot that's easy for people to walk to after work, or to get to by public transportation. I'm encouraging Jersey folks to take PATCO into town, or, if people have to drive, to carpool.

6. At Home Spa. It's my party, and I should look pretty, right? This might seem like a silly thing to include, but I gave myself a pedicure. I don't like the chemical haze that surrounds most nail places, and there's nothing quite as natural as making my feet pretty with just water, essential oils and moisturizer. Granted, I could have Juju Salon & Organics, but I'm running out of time -- party's Wednesday!

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BrassinPocket said...

Love it! And the drink tickets are perfect!

Matt said...

went to my local Borders in PA to grab your book for Mothers' Day...SOLD OUT!