We all know that social living requires a certain amount of consumption – hermits can squirrel themselves away in their hermitages, eat from their garden, and never buy a piece of pretty to decorate – but we princesses have guests that will expect better amenities.

And let’s face it, we princesses also like living in the modern world with our good food and our beautiful things.

But what’s a girl to do when she also cares about the environment and the impact our culture’s “spend and toss” habits have on the Earth? It’s a tight balancing act to enjoy life and the fabulous offerings of the modern world while leaving as small a footprint as we can. (Good thing the Pagan Princesses prefer spiked heels!) Let’s face it: we’re going to shop. But if we shop smarter, we can actually help the environment while surrounding ourselves with beauty and variety.

1. Holiday Decor – Buy the Real Thing

My friend and I were talking about the gourds we use to decorate our Autumn tables with, and she sighed and said, “I keep meaning to buy fake ones that’ll last longer; I feel bad tossing these out every year.” And I thought… “Wait a minute. We’ve taken this idea of ‘don’t throw it away!’ a little too far.” Let’s think about this:

Option 1: A (local) farmer grows plants, and we support this with our money on an annual basis while beautifully decorating our homes in a fresh, seasonal way. Within months of throwing them away, our purchases biodegrade naturally and are back in the cycle of nature.
Option 2: An unnatural substance is created (likely in a foreign country with questionable labor practices) releasing pollution into the air and water. We use the resulting product for a few years until its shoddy manufacturing fails to look even as kinda-realistic as it did when we purchased it, and it’s thrown away where it sits in a landfill for our grandchildren to deal with.

Which is better for the environment? Yeah. So princesses, get shopping! Buy a REAL tree, REAL gourds, REAL evergreen swag, REAL pinecones. Find something you love and support a farmer!

2. Having a casual fete? Use compostable dinnerware.

If you’re having a lot of people over, that’s a lot of water down the drain in cleaning your dishware (and depending on the event, a likely time for breakage and/or loss of utensils!). But companies, such as WASARA, are releasing good looking, compostable dinner ware made out of organic materials such as bamboo and sugarcane fiber. Do remember that when using compostable goods, it is better to actually compost them instead of throwing them away (though they’re still more environmentally sound than plastic, even in a landfill). So if, like me, gardening is sooooo not your thing and you don’t have your own composter (shame on us!), many cities have compost collecting facilities or you may even have friends who compost and will take your partyware. Just scrape off excess food, bag ‘em up nicely (in compostable bags!) and deliver.

3. Need to Say I’m Sorry or Make a Good Impression? Nothing Does It Like Flowers

There is practically no time of year that there aren’t fresh flowers and herbs to make into a lovely bouquet, and few things bring a smile to someone’s face as fast as beautiful, fragrant flowers. Want to up the environmental goodness? Make ‘em organic. But if you really want to go green, find a local farm that will sell you a bouquet. That way you’re supporting local farmers, there’s no gas spent on shipping, and the gift comes with an even greater personal touch. Think only princesses like flowers? In my experience, Prince Charmings are every bit as pleased by a gift of flowers – and as a bonus, they’ll make him think of beautiful you every time he passes by your beautiful gift!

Any other ideas out there for environmentally sound one use products?