Going Green With 70 of Our Closest Friends

Every year we rent a mansion with 70 of our closest friends. You laugh, but take about 20 couples, add children, and you quickly get to a crazy number of people. We just got back from another wonderful experience of living communally for a week. Putting on such an event takes some coordination and forethought, but some of us are organizers and planners at heart. We have been doing this for many years, since long before we had children and many things just come naturally. Someone coordinates meals and organizes a huge shopping list for groceries and supplies, which are usually bought at a warehouse club like BJs early in the week. Someone else is responsible for tracking expenses and splitting up the costs and billing everyone at the end of the week. Things like games, movies and time for adults to talk and appreciate each other happen organically throughout our stay.

minivan in front of mansion with snow on the ground

Packing out our recycling after a week with 70 friends

In recent years we have tried applying our own philosophy of green living to the vacation by incorporating some basic things into group living. Our friends come from all over the financial and green spectrums. It has taken a while, but pretty much everyone now agrees that you should not waste things and that conservation is good. We have found that green living in a large group with different values is a lot harder than doing it within our own home. Over the years we have worked in more and more green choices and we’re thrilled when others in our group instigate them.
top rack of a dishwasher with a bunch of clean glasses

Dishwasher set on sanitize

One lesson we have learned about group living over the years through these trips, as well as family trips to the beach, is that you have to be willing to negotiate and compromise, two things that we would like our elected officials to learn! It’s also important to communicate well, both in verbally and in writing. We frequently post signs about what is being recycled or collected and we have to be willing to accept the occasional ribbing.

We also realize that when we are living with a large number of people we have to consider that some compromises have to be made for health and sanitary reasons. For example, we run the dishwasher on sanitize and we use paper towels to dry hands in all the bathrooms.

Paper Towels & Paper Napkins

Most of us use very few paper towels in our regular lives, preferring cloth napkins and other reusable towels.  We use towels in the bathrooms and rags and cloths for cleaning. When we have 70 people sharing 6 bathrooms, we use rolls and rolls of paper towels to dry our hands. It is simply a means to reduce the spread of germs.  To have a paper towel holder in each bathroom, one of our friends improvised using a hanger from the dry cleaner, the kind with the cardboard roll across the bottom, to slip a roll of paper towels on and Voila! a make-shift paper towel holder for each bathroom.

Over a few posts we’ll share more specifics around things that have worked and not worked in Going Green with 70 of our Closest Friends.

Happy Greening & Happy New Year!

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  1. Amazing! Sounds like a really fun and enlightening experience.

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