Climate Action

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Pride

June is National Pride Month. Throughout the country, Pride events are full of celebration, protest, love, friendship, pride, activism, and the best part: partying! (I know that I have already started planning my Pride Party.) But 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: 

Consider Alternatives to Single-Use Plastics

Here at EARTHDAY.ORG, we are committed to End Plastic Pollution and hope to take action that lessens the harmful impacts of single-use plastic on human and ecosystem health. 

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 contain polystyrene, a compound used to make plastic and styrofoam that isn’t recyclable, most cups end up in landfills or oceans — despite humans taking steps 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.
  • Ask guests to bring their own cup/mug. This can be an exciting party theme or way to get to know each other, and it makes cleaning up easier for the host. 
  • Encourage guests to label cups to avoid drink mix-ups and prevent partiers from grabbing an additional cup. 
  • Wash and reuse cups after a party.  Red solo cups do not have to be a single-used product, and hosts can prolong their life by handwashing after use. 
  • 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. 

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 up all year long and compactly stored for your next party. 
  • Avoid Balloons. If you can, try to avoid balloons altogether. Helium balloons are more likely to float away and 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. 
  • Wear Sustainable clothing. 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, Facebook Marketplace, and garage sales. Buy clothing that has already been worn before and donate your clothes when you are done with them. 
  • Use Plant-Based, eco-friendly glitter. Every pride month, a staple for me is glitter, but glitter is terrible for the environment. Glitter products are most often made of plastic. When glitter gets washed down the drain, microplastics end up in marine systems and are hazardous to millions of organisms, including human beings. In recent years, environmentally-friendly glitter has become available on the market. 

Support Local, LGBTQ+ -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.

Tune into EDO throughout the month for other Pride x Environmentalism content!