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How to plan a sensational - and sustainable - baby shower

Hosting an eco-friendly baby shower is an exciting opportunity to welcome a new life into the world and is actually easier than most would think. Still, choosing to limit your carbon footprint during such an event takes some planning. Here are some tips to help your environmentally friendly shower go off without a hitch.

Location. During the initial planning stages, you need to decide where the party will be held and should select a location that is easily accessible to guests. Hosting the event at the home of the mother-to-be or in a natural outdoor setting is a great way to ensure that you will have control over the supplies used, the food served and the impact made in general on the environment.

Invitations. Sending out electronic invitations is a free and easy way to save paper and gives party guests an opportunity to communicate with each other before the celebratory shindig. Several websites are available to help you with such an endeavor, with decorative electronic cards resembling typical store-bought ones.

Food and Beverages. Food should be organic, unprocessed and natural whenever possible. Asking each guest to bring a dish (potluck style) is an excellent way to make sure you're serving homemade whole goods. Although they are certainly convenient, paper plates can hurt the environment through the destruction of trees, and plasticware used to serve food often takes years to decompose in landfills. Using non-disposable plates and silverware will help to lessen the party's carbon footprint.

Gifts. Asking guests to wrap gifts in newspaper or cloth will help to avoid tossing out bags full of paper after the party is over. A baby shower is also an excellent opportunity for current mothers to swap clothes, furniture and toys that are no longer appropriate for their children, and recycling these items is free and eco-friendly. Environmentally sound party favors, like plantable heart shaped confetti disks, make for excellent keepsakes. Finally, don't forget that planting a tree in the backyard of the expecting mother's home will grow with the baby and is a fun way to end an eco-friendly shower on a high note.