So as many of you know I am getting married this fall. We are trying our best to keep everything as local, sustainable and eco-friendly as possible. Our caterer grows the veggies and salad fixing in his own garden, while his restaurant has gray water systems and he composts. Our save the dates are being put together now with FSC certified and/or 100% recycled paper and envelopes. You get the picture.
So in my research, whenever I search green or sustainable or eco-friendly wedding stuff I end up with a list that almost always includes two things I almost certainly won’t use – flower seed paper and bamboo somethings. It seems that these two things are presented to a mass market as a way to go green. I beg to differ. Although in theory both can be very eco-friendly they probably aren’t.
1. Most people thing if you use bamboo it’s automatically better than wood or anything else. If the bamboo is grown in sustainable forests, great. Most bamboo is farmed in China under sketchy circumstances with terrible working conditions. Because bamboo is such a trend, native forests are being cut down to farm it and a lot of pesticides are used. This makes the pandas very sad.
2. Unlike wood, you can’t just cut a chunk or slab off and make something with it. To make planks, they take the strands and glue them together in layers, kind of like plywood. Many of the glues contain formaldehyde which is known to cause cancer.
3. China is very far away. Like the other side of the world. In order for the bamboo to get here from there it must be shipped and usually this means by boat. Unlike in days of yore where there were a fleet of men rowing today we use petroleum to move ships. I don’t really know how to calculate the carbon footprint of a bamboo picture frame favor sent from China but I’m guessing it’s not small.
4. Can I just go out on a limb and say that most of the favors given away at weddings are adorable pieces of junk no one will ever use? If someone leaves the wedding and chucks it into the trash then it was not only a waste of money but also just adds to a landfill. If it’s a bamboo adorable piece of junk it may be slightly more eco-friendly on it’s way to the trash heap but it kind of misses the point.
5. Seed paper is a lovely idea. Take paper, plant, get flowers. It’s awesome as long as someone will plant it. Otherwise it’s just going into the trash. I received seed paper a long time ago from a wedding and I thought it was a great idea. I held onto it meaning to plant it for years. After at least two moves and transferring it from drawer to drawer I finally gave up the ghost and chucked it. If I am going to chuck it, the one who has seeds started for a garden, then how many of the guests are going to chuck it too?
Look, I don’t mean to dissuade you from purchasing things that are more eco-friendly. I guess this is just my way of saying that things aren’t as simple as “It’s bamboo so it must be eco-friendly!” If you take take a healthy apple, then dip it in motor oil, it is no longer healthy.
Maybe this is just my way of venting over all the ‘green-washing’ as they call it. I still haven’t figured out what I will give out at the wedding if I give anything at all. I have also thought about just taking that money and giving it to the local animal shelter where we got Opie to help feed the dogs. Then there is nothing to go in the trash.