DO-IT-YOURSELF: Recycle your wedding

‘Going green’ is definitely the new Black.
In the wedding industry, this is one of the fastest growing trends world-wide. And what a better way to celebrate the beginning of a life together than to do it in a way that will help preserve our planet for our children and their children, leaving a legacy that goes beyond an album with photographs to remember the day by.
Recycling your wedding doesn’t even have to be that much work, there are just a couple of things that need to be done differently in terms of the actual ‘waste’ after the wedding. Simply divide the waste into two categories: organic (this will be all food and plant waste) and non-organic (paper, plastic and other materials).
Apart from the fact that people think it’s a lot of extra work to recycle, many Brides are scared to go ‘Eco’, because they think that going green is going ugly. In actual fact, there is not that much that needs to change in terms of the set-up or the decor. When it comes to wedding decor, almost anything can be recycled, but there are a few materials that are great to use for an eco-wedding:
1. Natural materials
Using different types of raw wood as wedding decor is a big trend in weddings world-wide at the moment. It’s timeless and rustic and speaks of solid patience and age-old wisdom. Great values to build a marriage on I would say!
Eucalyptus trees are not indigenous and you can cut the most beautiful wooden circles out of them. By using Eucalyptus wood, you will not be harming the environment by taking something useful and safe out of it and by recycling the wood afterwards, you will also be giving back.
b) Flowers
No need to suddenly revert to fake, all flowers are recyclable under ‘organic waste’. Flowers are an integral part of most weddings. They are soft and speak to me of the fragility of life and how precious it is. They come in all shapes and colours and smells immediately invite people in.
c) Fruits and vegetables
Now, before you shoot this idea down… There are so many different possibilities in this category. In the past, many couples have incorporated apples (red and green) in their decor for table placements or in vases, but the trend is growing. Lemons, limes, pears, pumpkins, cherries, artichokes, cabbage , basically any fruit or vegetable can be used according to your theme and colour scheme. In our first DIY blog, we played with the idea of turning fresh produce into candle holders and not only did it work well, it looked beautiful!
2. Paper
I love paper. It’s diverse and easy to work with and possibilities nowadays are endless!
Paper has recently made a huge come-back in the wedding industry and is being used in so many different aspects of the wedding:
invites, menus, table placements, thank you cards, paper decor, laser cut words… I could go on and on… Did I mention that I love paper?
Plus, paper is super-easy to recycle!
3. Glass
“It’s good, it’s in glass”. Or so the saying goes.
(If I could add another marriage metaphor here, I would say that, like glass, a marriage is formed by being subjected and moulded under intense heat. Still fragile and to be handled with care, but also practical and beautiful.)
So anyway… glass is fully recyclable and very practical to use as part of wedding decor.
There are a couple of companies in South Africa that specialize in Recycling and if you contact them to be a part of your wedding, they will help to make it easy to recycle and give back to the environment. Some of them will even give you a report after your wedding to show you how much you ‘saved’.
Note: Always make sure that the venue is aware of the fact that you want to recycle, so that they can participate as well and can make sure that their staff respect the “organic” and “non-organic” waste separation.
Go on, recycle your wedding. Leave a lasting legacy that will not only benefit our generation, but also generations to come. Let’s keep this trend growing and save our planet one wedding at a time.
** Go to for a list of recycling companies
*** Wasteplan does comprehensive recycling in Gauteng and Cape Town
Author: Sunelle van den Berg
Photographs: various internet sources
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