Throughout the country, Pride events are full of celebration, protest, love, friendship, pride, activism, and my favorite part: partying!
However, between the single-use plastics, decorations and outfits, Pride celebrations can be a significant source of unnecessary waste. Here are four sustainable practices you can be proud of for pride month:
1: Consider Alternatives to Single-Use Plastics
A single plastic cup can take up to 450 years to break down, and the world uses about 500 billion plastic cups each year. Since these products aren't recyclable, most cups end up in landfills or oceans — despite all of our efforts to dispose of them properly. The toxic waste of their chemical runoff disproportionately harms low-income and minority communities, two communities that consist of large LGBTQ+ populations.
Here are some ways to eliminate the use of plastic cups:
Switch to plant-based, compostable cups. Check to see if the cups you are buying are made from PLA instead of P #6.
Purchase colorful reusable hard plastic cups, plates, and utensils This one-time investment is affordable and can elevate your party past tacky monochrome solo cups.
Eliminate the need for cups at all. Fortunately, many of our favorite drinks come in aluminum cans. Aluminum is one of the most recyclable materials. Just make sure that a recycling bin is readily available and clearly labeled for your guests.
2: Reconsider Decorations and Costumes
Decorations and costumes are a must for a successful pride party. But often, themed parties encourage the unnecessary purchasing of clothing that will only be worn once or decorations that will be disposed of when the night is over.
When shopping for your next party, shop quality over quantity and try to keep these tips in mind:
Buy multi-use decorations. String lights, paper lanterns, banners, disco balls, colored light bulbs, and tapestries are easily reusable decorations that can be stored for your next party. If you can, try to avoid balloons altogether as they end up in our waterways, but they also contribute to the depletion of the world's helium reserves.
Take Inspiration from the Environment. The natural world is filled with so many beautiful, colorful things. Decorate your pride party with rainbow flowers or a fruit spread.
Upcycle the clothes you already own or do a clothing swap with friends. These options can be a fun party theme and encourage community bonding. Shop at locally-owned second-hand stores, thrift shops, and garage sales. Buy clothing that has already been worn before and donate your clothes when you are done with them.
3: Rethink the Glitter
A staple for me on pride month is glitter, but glitter is terrible for the environment. Using Plant-Based, eco-friendly glitter will avoid microplastics getting washed down the drain and becoming hazardous to millions of organisms, including human beings.
EcoGlitterFun offers an alternative to harmful glitter; their ecoglitter has the highest level of independent certification for freshwater biodegradability in the world and is super fun and festive. The ecoglitter offers a more sustainable way to make your Pridewear sparkle. They even have a special glitter kit devoted to Pride, with proceeds going to the Albert Kennedy Trust LGBTQIA+ charity.
4: Support Local, LGBTO+ owned Businesses
Your purchasing power has an enormous impact on the environment and the economy. Find businesses near you owned and operated by LGBTQ+ individuals and take it one step further and look for LGBTQ+ sustainable brands. Use Pride Month as a reason to find these brands, but show your support throughout the whole year. Be sure to avoid companies that rainbow-wash to turn a profit during pride month.
I'll share with you one of my Personal Favorites:
Known for fashionable gender-neutral clothing, Wildfang has established itself by using classic “men's styles,” and adjusting them to fit women's sizes and shapes.
In addition to supporting multiple charitable organizations, the company follows several sustainable efforts. Wildfang partners with factories that are SA8000-certified (for social accountability practices and humane working conditions), and they also meet standards for energy and water conservation and wastewater management. The store uses recyclable mailers and has removed unnecessary product packaging.
Be happy, be safe, be grateful and have a fabulous pride celebration!