Parties don’t have to cost the earth. Here are my top 5 eco-friendly party tips.
Find party decoration inspiration at home!
That’s right, you can start your eco-party supply search at home. Toys from your little ones’ toy box can be used to help decorate the room you’re holding the party in and your party table, especially if they’re characters from your party theme. You might even be able to use them on the birthday cake too.
Take care with eco-friendly tableware
If you’ve followed me for a while now you know I think a party table is great for theming. And there are eco-friendly products on the market you can add to your toy box decorations to bring everything together. But you do need to be careful what you choose to buy. Some tableware is labelled compostable but if you look at the detail and it says industrial, it means it’s not suitable for home composting. This means it needs to be sent to an industrial composting site to compost fully because of the materials it contains. So if you’re buying compostable make sure it’s home compostable.
An alternative is using your own crockery if you have enough (or borrowing from friends if you don’t) or using biodegradable bamboo plates. Dress them up with coloured or themed napkins and paper straws.
If you’re holding a smaller party, use a fabric tablecloth instead of a plastic one. Get yourself one in a neutral colour and it’ll work with pretty much any theme you choose and you can use it again next year. For larger parties, paper table covers look good especially on a buffet or present table. Dress your table up with eco-friendly napkins in the colours of your chosen theme and it’s already starting to come together.
Or buy a large roll of drawing paper in any colour, draw some shapes, animals, etc, pop some colouring pencils out and let the little ones colour in the table cover as they eat.
Generic over specific
Try to use generic decorations where possible that you can fold up and use again, for instance, a card banner that says ” Happy Birthday” rather than one with an age on it. And the same goes for cake toppers. Paper decorations like bunting, garlands, honeycomb decorations, and streamers are really effective and come in so many lovely bright colours. If you open up the honeycomb decorations and fix them together with a paper clip top and bottom instead of using the sticky pads provided you can fold them back up afterwards and use them for many parties to come. And bunting and garlands are easy to fold, store and reuse too.
Pinatas make fab decorations. Make your own, and they can be made totally eco-friendly and they’re a fun activity too!
And share items with friends and family. We’ve had a cake topper and candles going back and forth between our house and my folk’s house for the past few years now.
Be careful with balloons
Balloons are still an option but you need to check what you’re buying. I recommend the brand Qualatex as their balloons are not only high quality but made from 100% natural latex rubber so are biodegradable. Not all latex balloons are made from 100% natural latex and are therefore not biodegradable. You will also want to steer clear of foil balloons and curling ribbon as they contain plastic. Raffia is a good alternative for tying balloons together. But don’t expect it to curl as curling ribbon does. Try to unwrap it carefully from the roll and you’ll keep the natural wave that creates. Having said all that, even biodegradable balloons can end up getting tangled around sea life and swallowed by birds and sea life so paper decorations are a safer option.
Invites and thank you notes can easily be created without even having to put pen to paper.
But you can also go digital with your decorations too. There are lots of companies that sell digital downloads, so all you need to do is print and display!
Another idea I love is to use your TV screen to display a birthday message for your little one. Design your message or picture using a free app like Canva. Download it, pop it on a USB stick, plug it into the TV, and then play it on your TV!
You’ll obviously need to check the instructions for your particular device but here’s some general technical advice – when you’ve plugged your USB into your TV, press the HOME button and select the Apps icon (or select the Apps button if you have one) from the Home menu. Select Media Player, select the USB device name, select the folder, and select the file to play and you should be good to go!
Eat food family style
The pandemic has made us rethink buffets, favouring individually wrapped items over large sharing bowls. Whilst this is a great idea to reduce the spread of germs and food waste it’s not great if you normally avoid buying individually wrapped items.
Individual cardboard lunch boxes are a great way to package up everyone’s food to keep them germ-free without having to buy individually wrapped items. Pop a napkin in the box so the little ones can spread it out on the table to eat off of.
Alternatively, go back to the original style buffet using your own crockery to serve the items on. Be sure to have plenty of utensils on hand to help serve the food, and plenty of parents around to help.
Ditch the plastic party bags and gifts
It’s actually easier than you think to avoid unnecessary plastic contents in party bags; seeds, colouring pencils and pads, craft items, books, and wooden toys all make good alternatives. Make sure the bag itself is paper, not plastic. My pre-filled eco party bags are perfect and take all the hassle out of buying all the individual items. I can personalise them for you too.
Always prepare a few extras, just in case!
If you want to avoid a deluge of plastic toys write a present list and send it out to people. Most parents will be really grateful for this. It means they can be sure to get your little one something they actually want and they don’t have to spend lots of time coming up with their own ideas.
Be sure to have a recycling bin option as well as your regular bin for guests to use. It may even be an idea to pop a little sign above each bin with examples of what can be put in each so the other parents know. And don’t forget to recycle your decorations for next year!
To check out my Eco party bags click here
For more top party tips, sign up for my free kid’s party planning guide just click here.
And to discuss bespoke party ideas, tableware, and decorations for your little one’s birthday drop me a line, I’d love to help out!