As soon as you become a parent, you begin to notice bottles, plates, cups, spoons, teethers, toys, strollers - and more in all shapes, colors, and forms of plastic. And then comes to the birthday party! You must be wondering if a birthday party can be a memorable celebration of another year in your child’s life without turning into a wasteland of cheap plastic, rubbish food, and wanton commercialism? After the laughing, screaming, bouncy house jumping, and maybe a little crying (ok maybe a lot), your little one’s special day has come to an end. When frosting has been cleaned from tired little faces, what remains at your house or party place is this: trash!!! Before you give in to the birthday carbon footprint stomp, read on. We’ll show you how to plan an eco-friendly party, from invitations to party favors! With a few simple, inexpensive tweaks, you can turn your kiddo’s moment in the sun into a definitively green big day.
- Invites -
Honestly, sending printed party invites is not just wasteful but also outdated. Instead of printing out invitations on expensive papers and sending them out to each guest, why not save the paper and send out a fancy email, an event, create a Facebook event or even simply pick-up the phone and invite your friends and family.
- Food -
One of the biggest sources of waste at birthday parties is food, and this is where you can be eco-friendly. Buying fresh ingredients instead of packaged foods can be a great way to cut down on waste.
- Presents -
Try to avoid your child being given excessively packaged, battery-powered, or short-lived plastic toys. So many of those toys will never, ever break down into a landfill. And many of them came from China and are loaded with plastic toxins. To keep the focus on getting together with friends rather than ending up with a load of plastic packaging and cheap tat that soon ends up in the bin, add a note to your party invitations to bring your child a plastic-free gift, or eco-friendly gift, or perhaps to bring a pre-loved toy or book that is in good condition, rather than buying something new.
- Decoration -
Instead of hanging streamers, banners, and balloons, the best way to use green party decoration is to make your own out of unwanted recyclable or reusable materials at home. Party hats and banners can be made using old cardboard, construction paper, or even with a cloth. Get creative with your decorations and allow your guests to help by coloring their party hats.
- Dinnerware -
If you want to go green without putting aside any disposables, biodegradable, eco-friendly natural tableware would be a nice compromise – you’ll reduce the amount of plastic litter and set the rustic tone to your party at the same time. And the best place to look for premium disposable dinnerware and flatware is the Eco Party Warehouse. Later they can be composted, put in your worm farm, or buried in the garden.
- Games -
Use materials already available at the party to play games. For instance, use chairs to play musical chairs and offer a small eco-friendly prize for the winner. Also, you can utilize chalk to play hopscotch, or you can recycle old newspapers in your home to make a piñata.
- Cake -
It is always greener, healthier endeavor to make a homemade birthday cake using organic ingredients. Also, try to keep food color-free where possible — even though food colors are edible, they are artificial.
- Birthday Candles -
The best birthday candles are those made from pure beeswax. Unlike all other waxes, they actually improve air quality - and if they drip into the birthday cake it isn't harmful to them.
- Party Favors -
What kid needs another plastic toy or tchotchke that’s made in China? Bestow a meaningful party favor on revelers that may be enjoyed as a lasting memory of the special day. An awesome eco party favor idea is to ask guests to bring a gently used children’s book to exchange. Place the books in a box by the door and let kids pick out a ‘new’ book to take home as they’re leaving the party.
As we said, it doesn't have to be too hard! Going green and especially teaching kids from when they are young, goes a long way. We think that it’s super important to talk with our kids about how to throw a sustainable party that will be fun for everyone while also being good for the environment. Kids are much more understanding and adaptable than we may think.
We hope this inspires you to make positive changes, perhaps starting with hosting a sustainable kids' birthday party!