Ahh St. Patty’s Day. You can feel it approaching. You’ve made your Sunday plans, you’ve ransacked the dollar store of all its Irish paraphernalia, and you’ve reverted back to your March 18th, 2012 profile picture (a glimmering combination of a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirt, olive corduroys, and shamrock glasses that was SO gracefully worn last year) . But it’s a new year, and that means the “Winner of St. Patrick’s Day” is back up for grabs – and this year, it’s a whole new ball game. You see, “green” can no longer be defined simply by colour. Gone are the days when chartreuse shoes, forest green pants, a harlequin sweater and a pistachio hat made the cut. Being green has become a way of life, a mode of being, characterized by concern for the environment and sustainable choices. This may seem like a daunting task, but fear not young Paddy-wan.
Keep in mind the following advice when planning any St Patty’s Day festivities, and you’ll have no trouble claiming that title:
- Reuse your plastic cups! They’re as easy to wash as any other cup, and this will not only keep them out of landfills but will save you $$$.
- If you’re unable to reuse your plastic cups, don’t just leave them all over your lawn! Littering causes serious damage to the environment, and bylaw fines can cost you upwards of $100. Make use of SMART’s Red Cup Clean-Up and save the environment as well as your cash!
- Help your guests recycle! You can pick up FREE blue and grey bins at City Hall from 9-5 on weekdays, and can easily learn how to properly recycle via the city’s waste sorting look-up tool. Create big, bright signs over your recycling and organics bins so guests know where to toss their waste, saving you the trouble of having to sort your trash the next day to meet the one garbage bag limit. Remember: you can recycle and compost as much as you want.
Food & Drinks
- Starting your day off with some delicious pancakes and fruit? Try buying your ingredients from local suppliers and use seasonal ingredients (apples and rhubarb are in season and lend a deliciously acidic bite to your breakfast)! Grab lunch or dinner at a campus or downtown restaurant that serves local food – some great examples are Common Ground, the Canadian Grilling Company, Windmill’s and Harper’s.
- Staying hydrated throughout the day is key. Instead of buying plastic water or juice bottles and running out during the day, bring your own reusable bottle and fill it with free tap water wherever you go!
- If you choose to drink alcohol, consider trying out some local craft beers or ciders! Ontario is home to a number of quality microbreweries and cideries with some great products to choose from. Personal favourites include Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale from the Ottawa Valley, Waupoos County Cider from Prince Edward County, and Steamwhistle Pilsner from Toronto.
- Keep the lights off! Open your blinds and let the beautiful pre-spring sun join your party. Make sure all your lights are off if you’re leaving the house for the day, and turn off power bars to prevent larger appliances from leaching electricity when not in use.
- Reuse old outfits, props and decorations from St. Patty’s Days past. If you’re really not feeling that mini leprechaun hat this year, try trading with a friend and rock their green Mardi Gras beads instead. Mixing & matching is what St. Patrick’s Day is all about!
Kermit the Frog once said: “It’s not easy being green.” But let’s be honest, he ran the Muppets’ holiday show into the ground and clearly cannot be trusted. Anybody can be green, and it’s really not that difficult. Take this guide to heart, and you too could win St Patrick’s Day. Please green responsibly!