With the environment being of such concern now, it’s only natural to think of ways of how to integrate that into entertaining. Instead of using paper plates and napkins, plastic glasses and flatware—which destroy trees and fill landfills, to name a few environmentally destructive things—use what you already have in your house: china, silver or stainless-steel flatware, glasses and fabric napkins (which can go into a regular wash load). Just got some flowers at the office? Why not recycle them—throw away flowers that are dead or dying and put the remaining flowers in a vase. Flowers or greenery from your backyard can be used for a simple and elegant arrangement.

Recycle, Create & CelebrateThe painted blocks on the table make a great centerpiece even without flowers—though here we added yellow roses in small glass vases.

Looking for items to inspire the décor of your next party? A great place to turn to is the Green Project, which promotes environmental sustainability through recycling and community programs. You must go there (2831 Marais St. at Press Street, 945-0240) to see for yourself the scope of what is for sale. Salvaged doors, mantels, windows, latex and oil paints, books, fans, hardware, plants (landscape companies are encouraged to donate plants and supplies) and an art area that has fabrics and costumes. Also under the same roof is YA/YA (Young Aspirations/Young Artists), which provides provide educational experiences and opportunities to artistically talented inner-city youths. Combining assets from both places made it easy to create two tablescapes.

Our lime green BYOT (bring your own tote) is perfect for a trip to the grocery to prepare for a party. We picked up olive bread, fresh fruit, a muffaleta and assorted cookies from Langenstein’s. (By using the tote, we didn’t use two shopping bags on that one visit, and in a month we will save at least eight bags by using the tote.) These totes are fabulous, totally collapsible, come in an array of colors and patterns, and retail for $26. Available at www.byotote.com and at Savvy Gourmet, 4519 Magazine St.

Recycle, Create & CelebrateFor a quick and easy centerpiece, I recycled an old basket and filled it with herb plants and added colorful tissue paper.

Recycle, Create & CelebrateThis table was created on the lawn at the Green Project. To increase the table’s size, we found a window and cleaned it up. Before we placed it on the table, we secured large pink faux flowers underneath, so they could be seen through the glass. Gladiolas were placed in a used paint can. The “chairs” are paint buckets covered with fabric and I used bandannas for napkins.

Recycle, Create & CelebrateThis table features YA/YA products. The recycled chairs are painted in different designs. YA/YA participants also paint neckties, hats, clocks and murals, such as these in the background that were painted for the 2007 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Fest for its corporate sponsor, Shell. Eighty percent of the money from the sale of these items goes to the artist who creates it. A great hostess gift is the “YA/YA!” book by Claudia Baker. Shown here are Quinton Gilmore, Sexton Wright and Christel Picot.