ADVICE - GREEN UNION Partner Linda Thomas Eco Design Shares Her Thoughts on Hidden Plastics

3rd May 2019

Today, Linda of Linda Thomas Eco Design talks us through the minefield of hidden plastics, and how best to avoid them on your wedding day.

Plastic creeps into so many areas of our lives and weddings are definitely no exception. Prevention is much better than cure when it comes to having an ethical plastic free wedding so I’ll give you tips for where it may be lurking and what to do instead.

1. The Dress

How to avoid hidden plastics in your wedding day, by Green Union partner Linda Thomas Eco DesignLately, I’ve taken to referring to polyester/nylon/acrylic/synthetic fibres as plastic, because that’s what they are. If we start to name these things as what they really are, we can start to identify that a wedding dress made from polyester is the ultimate in single use plastic. This one’s big, we worry about a single use plastic bottle or straw and yet clothe ourselves in masses of the stuff. Watch out for the term satin, it only refers to a texture and I have met brides who were disappointed to find that their silky dress was actually made of polyester. Some things like tulle/net are nearly all synthetic these days, so if you want to puff out that skirt find a second hand underskirt to use instead. Without getting ridiculously technical here, intensively farmed crops are all linked to fossil fuels too as fertilizers are derived from oil. Enough about the bad stuff...what’s the good stuff? Pre-loved fabrics of all kinds are a great starting point. This may be in the form of a complete second hand dress or it may be a case of upcycling something you already have or using materials already in circulation to design a new dress. When I’m not making Ocean Waste dresses I make my designs from upcycled luxurious materials so the style can be every bit as glamorous as with new materials. In terms of new fabrics the most ethical ones are organic cotton, linen, hemp and organic peace silk. 

2. Food and Drink

How to avoid hidden plastics in your wedding day, by Green Union partner Linda Thomas Eco DesignWedding styles obviously vary immensely from a bring your own food party in a field to a 6 course meal in a manor. If you are using a venue or caterer then ask the questions, check that the table linen, plates, glasses are all plastic free and reusable and that there are no straws. If you are doing it yourself then there are many different styles of crockery available these days: you don’t have to like rose buds on white china. If you really do want more of a picnic style then think bamboo rather than plastic for picnic style items. If you’re on a tight budget you could even ask around your friends to see who has what.

Water is worth thinking about in advance. Can you have access to tap water, with lovely slices of cucumber or lemon? Gone are the days when you need to have bottled water on every table. Glasses are an issue for some places, so again if the real thing isn’t possible think bamboo, or vegware.

3. Decorations

How to avoid hidden plastics in your wedding day, by Green Union partner Linda Thomas Eco DesignI’m going to say it. Foil balloons are single use plastic. Foil confetti is single use plastic. Don’t use it. Simple. (Oh and latex balloons are even worse in the environment if they are released as burst to look like jellyfish). So many things are really beautiful and not plastic: dried real petals, glassware, flowers and greenery, upcycled or organic fabric bunting, wooden anything, sculptures. New ribbons are usually polyester so look for specialist suppliers or make your own from tearing up strips of natural fabric. Favourite things I’ve seen decorating venues: giant paper flowers, bunting made from packs of cards and even money (back in the day when that was paper not plastic!).

4. Presents

How to avoid hidden plastics in your wedding day, by Green Union partner Linda Thomas Eco DesignHaving a wedding is a bit like having a baby, in that if you don’t tell people that you don’t want plastic, you’ll get it anyway. Fruit or Nut trees for you or elsewhere in the World is one of the great things to get for gifts as Reforestation is one of the key things we can do to help revive our Planet alongside stopping doing all the damaging stuff.

The most beautiful and fun weddings I have been a part of were all close to plastic free or zero waste weddings. The thing they all had in common is that their guests were on board for the start and that is probably the most important thing to do after you’ve decided that you want a low impact wedding, is tell everyone the why and the how and then your wedding will be sending out a ripple of love for Nature as well as for each other on the day.

How to avoid hidden plastics in your wedding day, by Green Union partner Linda Thomas Eco Design

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