In the summer of 2008, Beth Bond, our editor, planned a party to celebrate the launch of Sustianable Atlanta with her former colleagues at Greener Altanta. Her's her "diary" of all the lengths she and her faithful team of volunteers went to make the party as green as possible.

When started planning the Your Groove Goes Green Summer Launch party in honor of Mayor Franklin's Sustainable Atlanta initiative, many items were taken into consideration to make the event as green as possible.

First was reaching out to a great list of resources: Polly Sattler, Abbey Patterson, Sean Mahoney, Sarah Boardman and Karen Raymer. Next was finding a fantastic location and The Atlanta Event Center at OPERA stepped up and helped orchestrate a wonderful event. After that assemble a great diverse steering/host committee that includes big, small, business, non-profit, government, usual and unusual suspects and start picking everyone’s brains. Finally, a whole lot of enthusiasm, a lot of great events prior to draw ideas off of like Greenprints hosted by Southface and Earth Hour hosted by the World Wildlife Fund, great ideas, terrific sponsors and partners and one big ball of energy focused on success and then you have a long list of items.

It’s not the greenest event ever but we did the best we could. Feel free to use ideas for your next event.


  • Coca-Cola Enterprises supplies recycling bins
  • Glass, plastic and paper from the general area to the bars will be recycled
  • We asked everyone supplying napkins to use a recycled product
  • Paper part of Badges for sponsor/partner area recycled content
  • Paper towels in the restroom are recycled content
  • Pratt Industries are picking up and processing recycling
  • Almost all paper signage and tents are out of recycled content
Waste stream reduction:
  • No paper invites. All invites were sent electronically
  • Using china for all food service to reduce waste of paper products
  • Badges for sponsor/partnership area are biodegradable
  • Guest bags - Whole Foods will only have one item in it. A coupon on recycled paper from Recycline. They make shavers, plastice flatware, cups and plates and toothbrushes out of recycled plastic. Sponsor/partner bags have 15 items. We shot for paperless bags on those we have two items made of paper: a Coca-Cola recycled paper journal and the Georgia Organics Food Guide. So people won't just dump the paper marketing items into the waste stream.
Energy in all it's forms:
  • The event is carbon neutral. This means that energy tax credits were purchased for projected energy use and carbon offsets are being purchased to offset our footprint at OPERA. Sterling Planet donated the credits and made sure that all areas of this were covered.
  • We encouraged folks to use MARTA or carpool
  • Grease from fryers will be recycled to a bio-diesel concern (forever. This is an internal change OPERA has made permanently.)
  • Candles in solarium are petroleum free. They are made from soy wax, soy inks, recycled glass and organic cotton wicks.
  • Solarium uses "daylighting" (old school - sky lights) so overhead lighting will be kept to a minimum
  • Only one steering/host committee meeting in person to conserve gas and reduce our carbon footprint for planning. All other communication was conducted via e-mail.
Food and beverage:
  • The menu prepared by OPERA's Chef Jeff McGar is Southern Sustainable with a Georgia Organic Twist
  • Most of the food was provided by Whole Foods and Destiny Produce a local organic Food Distributor
  • Chef Derek Smith of Organic Eatz consulted on the menu to make sure it was on point with sustainability and/or organic concerns
  • Sweetwater 420 is the featured beer. It's manufactured locally, so it's sustainable.
  • Fetzer and Bonterra wines will be served. Both use organic grapes and Bonterra is from North Carolina so sustainable by "food industry definitions" which is defined by three state area
  • 360 Vodka is a sustainable vodka by creation factors. All grain comes from a 75 mile radius. They buy wind power. Bottles are made out of recycled glass. Labels use recycled content.
  • Jack's Harvest Groovy Bellini's. The fruit puree is all organic and from Destiny Produce
Focus on Green Fashion:
  • Nitabella clothing uses 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton
  • IndiePeace uses organic cotton all from certified southeast growers. So organic and sustainable. Designs use soy inks.
  • Jewelry is Lori Bonn who has reclaimed almost all her metals and does not use any metal from mining concerns that aren't sustainable.
Sponsor/Partner Bags. We really tried to avoid as many mistakes with the bags based on past bags we had received:
  • "Paperless" gift bags. The only paper item we have is the Georgia Organics Food Guide. It is printed on recycled newsprint and will biodegrade in a week in a compost pile. I had many people who wanted to put coupons in. I turned them all down. I told them we could place them on the website if they wanted.
  • WWF plush snow leopard. The WWF has told me that they made all possible efforts to make sure this was a "green" plush.
  • Aveda product - product is all natural.
  • Double Dome supplied gift bags. Made out of 100% organic cotton
  • Batdorf & Barton supplied 12 oz. bags of organic coffee
  • Wal-Mart supplied compact fluorescent light bulbs. We had to package them since they came in bulk. We used shredded recycled paper for lining of packages. Raffia a natural material that is biodegradable and tissue paper that can be reused and recycled.
  • Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation supplied pens made out of recycled plastic and cell phone wrist loops
  • Earth Share is supplying seed packets
  • K.Chocolate is providing organic chocolate bonbons in support of Supplied by Georgians for Better Transportation.
  • Hydro Mission soaps. Organically made and support clean water efforts in the third world.
  • Recycled paper journals from Coca-Cola Enterprises
  • Recycling temporary tattoos from Department of Community Affairs
  • Pratt Recycling wrist bands made out of recycled materials
  • Wheat packets from Return to Eden
  • Paddywax candles. They are soy wax, soy inks and organic cotton wicks.
Decor and styling:
  • Dwayne Bass of Two Vital is donating two artistic pieces for the stage area made out of recycled products.
  • Recycled burlap coffee sacks will be used to decorate the tables in solarium.
  • Some sacks were decorated with children that reinforce the recycling/sustainable message
  • Banners are all being supplied by vendors will go back to vendors to reuse.
  • Limited our signage to 4 posters only.
  • We said no to cut flowers. There was some discussion about fresh flowers but we said no because most flowers are not sustainable.
  • Polly Sattler met with Opera to suggest ways their operations could become more green.
  • Waldenour who did the styling also made sure we were as authentic as possible.
  • Organic Eatz consulted on the menu.

Back to the community:

  • All leftover food will be donated to a local shelter
  • All leftover products i.e. cups, napkins and bottled water will de donated to a local shelter

Sponsored in part by