This is a guest contribution by Jan Vespremi, freelance content writer.
Children’s birthday parties can produce an enormous amount of waste. Paper plates and napkins, plastic cups and flatware, balloons and other party favors serve their short-lived purpose only to end up in the trash bin as soon as the party is over. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of ways to avoid the waste associated with birthday parties, without sacrificing any of the fun or excitement. Keep reading for tips on throwing an awesome eco-friendly bash for your child’s next birthday!
Instead of buying or printing invitations, consider eco-friendly options like the following:
- - Create e-invitations, then email them to friends and family members.
- - Create a Facebook event for your child’s party. As a safety measure, make sure the Facebook settings are set to “private.”
- - Invite guests via text or phone calls.
- - Create handwritten invitations on seed paper.
- - Help your children to create their own invitations on recycled paper.
In keeping with the green theme, ask guests to arrive via carpooling, walking, biking or public transportation. As explained by eco-friendly expert Victor Surma, these methods not only cut down on energy use, but on cost as well. You can also ask that guests avoid wrapping paper in favor of newspaper or, better yet, leaving gifts unwrapped.
Plates, Cups and Flatware
For green families, using disposable plates, cups, napkins, etc. is a major no-no. Avoid the waste, not to mention the extra cost, associated with these items by using the washable versions found right in your own kitchen. Old jelly jars make great party cups, while bandanas and washcloths can double as napkins. Not only do these options reduce waste, they’re pleasing to the eye and will make your guests feel right at home.
- - Use potted flowers and plants as centerpieces. Single flowers also make great accents.
- - Decorate with framed photos of the birthday boy or girl.
- - Nix the disposable tablecloths in favor of linen or cotton.
- - Use reusable cloth banners and signs.
- - Make origami decorations out of newspaper.
- - Instead of paper confetti, sprinkle tables with flower petals and leaves.
- - Make a paper mâché pinata and fill it with paintbrushes, paints, pens and pencils, marbles, comic books, etc.
Build your menu around organic, locally-grown food and produce. Fruit and veggie trays are great ideas, as are simple salads and sandwich stations. For dessert, consider a “naked” cake. These have less frosting, which means less sugar, and can be decorated with flowers and other natural items. Top with beeswax candles and serve with organic milk!
While traditional party games are nice, most are not conducive to green living. Solve this problem by providing party games like the following:
- - Set up a craft table for little party-goers. Provide items like newspapers, old buttons, macaroni, yarn, modeling clay and earth-friendly paints, and encourage each guest to create something interesting and fun.
- - Organize a scavenger hunt. Have guests find natural items like leaves, flowers, acorns, chestnuts, etc. Award the winner with an edible treat, art supplies or a book. You could even play Spalloon!
- - Create an impromptu stage and encourage guests to act out a short play.
With the tips provided here, you’ll never have to worry about party waste again. Throw an eco-friendly bash your child and guests will never forget!
How do you like to “Go Green” with your kid’s parties?