When it comes to planning your child's next birthday party and you feel like you want it to be "greener" than past celebrations, you may think it will be difficult and/or expensive, but that is definitely not the case. With a little creative thinking and some extra time, you can put together an eco-friendly bash that will have you throwing out less trash at the end of the day and even save yourself some money in the process. Having your child involved in the planning will also help to open them up to some of the ideas involved. Being involved in the party plans is also a great opportunity to teach them about being less wasteful.
Bonus: This list is not only for birthday parties, most of it can also be applied to any celebration or gathering!
Here are ten ideas to get you started:
Rather than spending money on paper invitations (which will eventually be thrown in the trash once the info has been recorded) and having to go through the hassle of writing each one individually, opt to send e-invitations through a free online service like evite.com or punchbowl.com.
For most kids, gifts will be a tough thing to give up, but with some explanation, many will understand and even come to appreciate the reasoning behind the no-gift decision. This idea may not work well for younger kids, so a good compromise is to only request gifts from family and no gifts from friends or the other way around.
Another option is to ask invitees for a donation to a charity or cause near-and-dear to your family’s heart such as your local food bank. Ask guests to bring a non-perishable food donation that you and your child will pass along to the food bank.
Reusable party decor can be used over and over again and will save you money. For decor, Google “diy eco party decor,” and you will be presented with some great project ideas. If you are not the DIY type, a great source for eco-party decorations is greenplanetparties.com.
There are so many great options when it comes to durable, reusable and/or compostable plates, cups, napkins, and utensils. Here are some eco-friendly tableware options to consider.
Juice boxes are so convenient to serve to kids, especially at parties but they also produce a lot of trash. Opt for homemade pitcher drinks such as lemonade or fruit punch, or your own fun recipe.
I know...who makes all of their own party food? For convenience and time, most of us go for store bought party food and cakes. But with a little extra work, you can prepare a healthier spread for your guests by pre-planning the menu with "homemade" in mind. Depending on the time of year, locally grown foods are an excellent idea when it comes to planning your menu. Depending on what is available, plan your party fare around what you can find. One idea is to prepare a fruit plate or fruit kabobs as an appetizer using seasonal berries and fruits.
The activities you plan do not have to be elaborate, kids love crafts, so plan activities where the end result will be something they can take home. Activities such as painting rocks or decorative pencils will be a hit! Pinterest is a great spot to find lots of eco craft ideas.
Rather than stocking up on prizes from the dollar store, award kids for their game wins with eco-friendly prizes such as crayons, drawing pads, small bags of specialty popcorn, or sidewalk chalk (these ideas also double as great goodie bag items!).
Opt for no goodie bags at your next party (the kids won’t miss them!) or if goodie bags are important to you and your child, give out earth-friendly items such as healthy homemade treats, a small plant pot with seeds they can plant at home, or an eco-craft that was the result of a party activity. Opt for reusable or paper bags instead of plastic. Click here for more loot bag alternatives.
When cleaning up after the party is over, compost everything that is compostable (uneaten food, compostable tableware etc), recycle everything that is recyclable (certain types of gift wrap etc.), and hang on the gift bags, bows, boxes and anything else that can be reused or upcycled in the future.