Kiss Me, I’m Eco-Friendly! 5 Tips for a Truly Green St. Patrick’s Day

Environment Friendly Living


Genealogy tests be damned, March 17 is a day when we all proudly claim to have Irish ancestry — and for good reason. St. Patrick’s Day was originally intended to be a religious feast to celebrate Saint Patrick, but over the years, the focus has turned from religious observance to debaucherous celebrations of leprechauns, beer and all things green.

Unfortunately, like many other big holidays, amid the joy and raucous festivities lurks a massive environmental toll. It doesn’t bring with it the consumerism of Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but annual St. Patrick’s Day celebrations bring with them a


of waste.

We think it’s possible to celebrate the day in style without the corresponding negative environmental impact, so we’ve put together this guide: five things to avoid if you want a


green St. Patrick’s Day.

What to Avoid for a Green St. Patrick’s Day

1. Plastic decorations

Green beads, glitter-covered shamrocks and green plastic tablecloths are fun ways to deck out a party in seasonal style. The only downside is that these St. Patrick’s Day trappings are destined for the trash can on March 18. Think about it — does


take the time to properly store and save that stuff for next year? Nope, especially not when bucketfuls of green beer are involved.

Avoiding cheap plastic decor doesn’t mean you’re doomed to dour, colorless celebration. Instead, choose decorations made of felt, cloth or metal. They may cost more the first year, but the increased cost means you’ll be more likely to take care of them, plus investing in well-made materials means that they’ll last longer and their cost will be spread over years. Being able to reuse these festive trimmings means a far lighter burden on the environment.

2. Seasonal T-shirts

Just like plastic decorations, those inexpensive “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” T-shirts seem like an easy way to mark your love for this boozy holiday, but these garments are far from green, environmentally speaking. This type of clothing most often originates from overseas manufacturers with questionable labor standards, and it’s rarely made to last.

I like dressing for the holidays and am definitely not above a tacky

Christmas sweater

, a pink dress on Valentine’s Day or green garb for St. Paddy’s Day, but why not search out some secondhand clothing instead of checking out the cheap new stuff? Rifle through the racks at your local Goodwill, Value Village or consignment store to source some gorgeous green clothing

that you’ll be able to wear year-round. Bonus points if you find clothing made in Ireland!

3. Green beer

We seem inordinately intrigued by the idea of eating and drinking things that have been dyed strange colors — does anyone else remember purple ketchup? — but you might want to skip the green beer this year and opt for a Guinness instead. One of the dyes most commonly used to dye beer that delightful green color is FD&C Green No. 3, which is known to be poorly absorbed by the digestive system (meaning you may have a bit more than a hangover after drinking a few pints on St. Paddy’s). In undiluted form, the dye can irritate the eyes, skin, digestive tract and respiratory tract.



not good. And although you’ll be consuming a very diluted form of the dye, you still might be better off ordering a classic Irish whiskey instead.

4. Irish stew, corned beef and other meaty dishes

They may be touted as authentic Irish fare, but meat-heavy dishes like stew and corned beef have far greater environmental tolls than their meat-free counterparts. If you’re trying to eat less meat for ethical or environmental reasons, there’s no reason to stop now!

A quick search turns up dozens of delicious


Irish and

St. Patrick’s Day recipes

that will keep your guests well-fed and happy without being environmentally harmful.

5. Cars

It’s easy to avoid the crowds, the parking fees


the environmental costs associated with driving to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Instead of driving or taking a cab, consider more eco-friendly options like walking, carpooling or taking public transportation.

Aside from being a truly green choice, nixing the car means you’ll also avoid the temptation to drive after having a few, and given the usual rates of drunken driving incidents on St. Patrick’s Day, that’s truly something to celebrate.

The holiday has always been green in color, but now it can be green in environmental spirit, too. Happy St. Patrick’s Day from all of us here at Earth911!

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