10 Eco-Friendly Wedding Favor Ideas for A (Nearly) Zero-Waste Day

June 13, 2022

bride and groom kissing on wedding day

Wedding season is here, and with it comes joyous celebrations coupled with massive amounts of waste and environmental toll.

According to the Green Bride Guide, the average wedding produces approximately 400 pounds of garbage and 63 tons of CO2. This year, The Knot estimates an unprecedented number of weddings (~2.6 million), which would result in over one billion pounds of trash generated by the wedding industry alone.

This, however, doesn’t have to be the case.

Conscious consumption is on the rise, along with increased public interest in living an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. From serving vegetarian and vegan options to locally sourcing flowers and food, each decision you make can have a huge impact on the overall carbon footprint of your special day.

Cultivate a wedding day that’s green from start to finish—closing out the celebration with one of these wedding favor ideas for a sentimental and sustainable gesture.  

  1. Let Love Bloom with Sentimental Seed Packets 

photo of a sunflower

Encourage your guests to try out their green thumb with a seed packet for easy planting. Popular seed packet wedding favors can include a sentimental note written on the packet or a wedding-inspired phrase such as “Let Love Grow.” Consider giving  a pollinator mix, herbs, or natives seeds that grow best in your local climate. 

2. Give the Gift that Keeps on Growing with Succulents & Pots

succulent

If the thought of growing a plant from seed is too daunting for your guests,  pre-grown succulents are a great alternative gift instead. While you can buy succulents for each of the guests on the list, that can quickly grow costly. For a cheaper option, plan ahead and propagate your own succulents, collecting fallen succulent leaves and promoting new succulent growth.

3. Elevate Your Guest’s Gourmet Game with Consumable Spices & Oils 

truffle oil

Do you have a special DIY spice blend you love to make, or an infused olive oil you just can’t live without? 

Consumables are an easy favor guaranteed to be used. Buy reusable jars and fill them with spices or oils with the recipe tied around the outside. Your guests will love this gourmet favor and may even start making the spice mix themselves! 

4. Save Single-Use Cups with Secondhand Mugs & Glasses 

For the thrifting aficionados, give your guests sentimental secondhand mugs or glasses that they can continue to reuse long after the wedding. Not only is this favor affordable and incredibly practical, guests can also use the mugs throughout the wedding for water and libations, rather than using single-use water bottles or the dreaded plastic cup. 

5. Give The Perfect Blend of a Morning Brew

Another consumable, loose leaf teas and coffees are a perfect morning pick-me-up and a practical favor for any wedding. Pour your perfect blend into a small satchel, drawstring bag, or glass container to avoid paper and plastic waste.

If one of you is a tea drinker and the other is a coffee person, offer both to reflect the taste preferences of the newly-wed couple. 

6. Promote Green Living with Reusable Straws  

Encourage your guests to make sustainable swaps by giving reusable straws that they can keep and save for continued use. One Etsy company will even engrave bamboo straws for that extra sentimental touch, to commemorate your wedding day. 

7. Feed the Birds with DIY Bird Seed Hangers 

bird eating at a bird feeder

Biodegradable and good for the environment, bird seed hangers are easy to make and the perfect favor from a bird-watching couple. Find them on Etsy or DIY them yourself with birdseed, cookie cutters, flour, water, and gelatin. Use the recipe here to make your own.

8. Shop Local & Support Small Businesses

charcuterie board that says eat local

Shopping locally is always better for the environment by reducing shipping and supporting your local economy instead. Consider browsing your local farmer’s market for artisan goods or visiting farms and local shops for a sentimental find. Common gifts include soaps, woodworking, and more.

9. Create A Wedding Library with Used & Thrifted Books

If you and your partner first bonded over books, incorporate your love of words by building a ‘favor library’ filled with second-hand copies of your favorite reads. You and your partner will have a blast visiting bookstores and finding copies of the books that meant the most to you, and guests can enjoy perusing the collection to find a book to add to their own home libraries. 

10. Plant a Tree in Honor of Your Guests

tea blooming in spring

In lieu of a favor that could wind up in the trash or go unused, consider planting a tree in honor of each guest in attendance. One Tree Planted is an organization that plants a tree for every dollar donated, helping to reforest areas affected by climate change and restore native biodiversity. You can learn where One Tree Planted plants trees here, and leave compostable donation notes at your wedding encouraging guests to make their own gifts as well.

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Whether something borrowed or something blue, decrease your carbon footprint by giving these eco-friendly favors for a low-waste and sustainable wedding. Happy planning!

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Photo: Emma Bauso via Pexels (wedding); John Thorne via Pexels (birdfeeder); rest, Dana Drosdick

Dana Drosdick
Dana is a marketer living in Saratoga Springs, NY with a passion for all things related to stewardship, faith, wellness, and personal enrichment. Her work has been featured in various Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, The Odyssey Online, and The Banner Magazine. Follow her at @danadrosdick on Instagram for foodie trends, her latest book recommendations, and far too many photos of clementines.

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