By Hazel Walshaw
Did you know the average UK wedding produces 18-20 kg of plastic waste? According to Sky Ocean Research, the average UK wedding produces around 18kg of plastic waste. Over a year, with an average of 245,500 weddings a year (2020 not included!), that works out at 4910 tonnes of plastic potentially pouring into the oceans. The biggest offenders are: Plastic cups, water bottles, disposable decorations, gift bags, fake confetti, wrapping from table favors and bin bags.
So what can we do about it?
An easy one is to ditch any plastic cups and bottles. Ask the bar to only use glass bottles. If you need water on site, say you’re in a field somewhere, then use those large containers and refill glass bottles and jugs from there. If you have to use plastic cups for any reason, make sure they are biodegradable.
Find plastic-free wedding props! – All those cheap plastic lanterns, and signs, that all come individually wrapped in plastic… avoid the bargain wedding aisles of Hobby Craft or The Range. Hire instead! The quality is better, and the items are reused again and again until broken. Which is better for the environment than buying new every time. You can find more tips on renting on this earlier article Renting Your Wedding: Zero Waste Tips
Did you know that exotic flowers will arrive in the UK wrapped in plastic? Choose seasonal flowers, grown locally to minimize transport and plastic waste. Or better still – grow your own bouquets and arrangements. An avoid filling your venue with cheap plastic faux flowers. Consider adding more greenery or even succulent plants to your wedding decor.
Ask guests to only use recycled gift wrap on any gifts they give you. Use only biodegradable or dried petal confetti. Most venues insist on biodegradable anyway these days.
When clearing up at the end of the wedding, use biodegradable bin bags. Normal bin bags will have your wedding waste sat under the earth intact for over 100 years!
I hope you found this interesting. We all need to do our bit and by making small changes to way we plan and decorate our weddings, then we can contribute to reducing the plastic waste that is choking our oceans.
Hazel is a mindful wedding coach, author, and online course creator. She was a wedding planner for over a decade and is now training to be a mindfulness practitioner. Hazel is ‘marrying’ the mindfulness with wedding planning to offer brides-to-be a calm, stress-free alternative to planning their wedding day which fits their ethos and values. Her intuitive approach and courses are designed to empower brides to be confident and thoughtful wedding planners, able to handle any situation in a way that is beneficial to everyone involved. She loves writing and, when not writing about mindfulness and wedding planning, she writes kids books. With three boys or her own, she has her own tribe of book critics. She lives in Leeds with her husband, kids and husky, Skye. Read Hazel articles