Contact: Pam McCurdy, (651) 215-0230 or (800) 657-3864 Saint Paul, Minn. -- Across the nation, people with gather on Aug. 5 to celebrate National Night Out. With some planning, these neighborhood-strengthening events can be made more environmentally friendly, says the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. Here are some suggestions for organizers to consider as they plan their events:
1. Provide recycling bins for the empty cans and bottles. If possible, buy beverages in bulk-size containers and use reusable cups.
2. When possible, e-mail information about your block party to prospective attendees to cut down on paper use. If that's not an option, print literature out double-sided, on a minimum of 30 percent post-consumer content recycled paper, available from most copy stores.
3. Provide information to attendees on efforts your event is making to go "green" and how they can help.
4. Ask attendees to bring reusable plates and utensils from home. Or, consider using compostable paper plates.
5. If you're planning a potluck, encourage attendees to bring locally grown food to the potluck, such as produce from their own gardens or from a farmers markets. If an outside source is providing food for your block party, ask the caterer to incorporate locally grown food into the menu.
6. Provide condiments in bulk instead of individually wrapped servings. For example, use bottles of ketchup instead of individual packets. Whenever possible, buy other foods in bulk also.
7. Use decorations that can be reused in future years and limit balloon use If you are printing banners or other signage, consider not including the event year so they may be used again.
8. Set up an information table with "greening" resources for attendees, such as information on native plants for landscaping and rain gardens and how to purchase renewable power from your electric utility.
Visit http://mngreengatherings.org on the Internet for other ideas.