Start throwing parties and events that not only wow guests, but are also kinder to our earth. Nicole Lutze speaks with Brandition about how to host fun and sustainable events.
Whether you’re hosting a private gathering for family and friends, or you’re a big business seeking maximum impact with a large event, parties and corporate gigs can use an immense amount of resources. Single-use utensils and serving ware are obvious resource pits, as are balloons and disposable decorations. Then there’s food waste, party favours and gifts. So how can we host a fun and stylish event that’s also sustainably focused? Brisbane’s very own event hire service, Brandition, has the answers.
Founded in 2014 by Michelle Loveday, Brandition is an award-winning event service utilising salvaged, up-cycled and recycled materials to cater for big and small events. Focused on partnering with other brands that adopt a similar “triple bottom line” business model, Brandition is continually working to prioritise people and the planet over profits.
“When Brandition originally started, we built our business on upcycled and recycled furniture. It was a great way to minimise waste and give life to beautiful old resource,” says Michelle. Since then, Brandition’s recycled timber benches and trestle tables have proved popular. Each trestle table and bench seat is lovingly crafted in Brisbane from VJ boards salvaged from demolished Queenslander homes. Overall, Brandition produces and manufactures 80 per cent of its products locally.
“Over the last few years, we’ve moved our focus to waste minimisation,” continues Michelle. “When you work in events, it’s very disheartening to see so much going into the bin each day.” Providing an unexpected opportunity to reassess their waste management, Michelle says the pandemic gave them time to reconsider resource use in every facet of their business.
“During the pandemic, we spent months creating fabric covers for our furniture, so we could stop using plastic covers,” she explains. “We moved to a shared-warehouse location and created a better waste management plan. Now, green waste is composted at my own home, we use Container Exchange for recycling drink bottles and cans, and we even repurpose food waste.”
Overall, Brandition has reduced their use of plastics by 90 per cent throughout their entire business. They also relocated to a shared workspace, reducing their energy consumption by more than 50 per cent. And, an incredible 90 per cent of Branditions unused products are recycled and reused through sale, repurposing and gifting.
Eager to share their learnings of the past seven years, Michelle has four top tips for creating and hosting a sustainably focused event.
1. Get everyone on board: Talk to your guests, caters, family and friends and get them on board with your resource priorities. Ask your suppliers to use low-energy equipment, and communicate the correct disposal of food and recyclable material with attendees. Make things easy for them by having clearly labelled bins.
2. Go paperless: Gone are the days when flyers, newsletters and paper invitations are required to promote an event. Instead, send electronic invitations, use social networks or even QR codes to spread the word. If you need to print things, opt for recycled materials that can later be composted, repurposed or recycled, and choose a font that uses less printer ink.
3. Embrace a sustainable style: When you prioritise sustainability, you may need to align your aesthetics with your ethics. Let secondhand timber shine as a feature instead of covering it up with tablecloths. The same goes for dining chairs. Rather than hiring fabric covers that slip over dining chairs and require dry cleaning, choose chairs that can feature as they are. A sustainable style will also include glass instead of plastic, locally grown flowers over exotic imports, and reusable items wherever possible. Sustainable style is beautiful, organic and unique: let’s embrace it.
4. Shop local: Reduce your carbon footprint by choosing a menu of locally grown seasonable produce. Extra points for organic or spray-free produce. Locally grown flowers will also go a long way to reducing your event’s impact and has the added benefit of supporting an industry competing with cheap overseas imports. And of course, choose a hire company that’s local to your event.