So you’ve received the responses back, have the menu figured out, the flowers on order, and the DJ loading up the playlist. The details are falling into place! “Day of” stationery needs are next on your to-do list. But if taking a look at this step with your green goggles on, you may hesitate at the amount of “extra” paper today’s bride could possibly divulge in. Just to start the list, you’ve got programs, place cards, menu cards, table numbers, favor tags… oh my!
Don’t fret, green bride. Verify that your printed products are at the very least printed on 30% post-consumer waste paper. This is the paper industry’s minimum to qualify for “recycled content” labels, so getting to 30% of the good recycled stuff shouldn’t be hard. The next question should be, “Is the paper recyclable?” (because not all papers are). In any papers that are “shiny” and metallic, the shiny content must be made of organic materials in order to be recycled. You can’t stick the glossy, coated, or otherwise “sparkly” papers into ye old recycle bin.
Ok, your paper is recycled, recyclable, and the next and final step is making sure you actually recycle it! Now this may take some creative thinking. How many weddings have you been to where, as you’re wiping your eyes and walking away from the ceremony, you look back and oh the horror! Programs are strewn all about! What do you think that wonderful church janitor is going to do with those? (Hint: Compost them to the parish worm bin is NOT the answer.) And the bride, of course, is thinking about other things. Like, “Oh my god- I just got married, where’s the photographer, is my grandma doing ok, how’s my lipstick look?” So put some time into the recycling thought process before the big day. And the answer is… a Recycling Ambassador! Ladies, let’s retire the useless “guest book attendant” role and start adopting the Recycling Ambassador. Be bold (and a tad bit ironic, I might add) and put the title and credit right on the programs. Say it proud!
What is a Recycling Ambassador, you ask? This person’s mission, shall they choose to accept, is to follow behind at each step of the ceremony and reception and gather up the paper products. The programs are distributed, and then immediately following the ceremony scooped up. Give them a decorated bin (most likely the same bin you brought them to the ceremony site in, no doubt) for depositing recyclables. After the meal, the menus can be collected, and toward the end of the night, the table numbers, place cards, etc. etc. At Spilled Ink Press, we always offer to take back the paper products from our clients and recycle them on their behalf. You know, so they can enjoy their honeymoon without recycling remorse.
If your stationer hasn’t offered this service and you don’t want to worry about it yourself, make sure your Ambassador has access to a paper recycle program- perhaps your venue even has a receptacle in the building. If this same person is going to the post-wedding brunch, where perhaps gifts will be opened and cards read- be sure those now disposed of envelopes and cards end up in the bin as well! How many showers have you been to after all where the little wide-eyed ones circle around the bride on the floor and want nothing more than to snatch up the ribbons and wrapping paper and be the “helper” of the day. Imagine granting your niece–who was too old for the flower girl gig, but too young to be a bridesmaid–the “Recycle Maid” position! Your wedding day will be that much more green, and your friends and family will be happy to fill this special role. Done and done!