Kids’ birthday parties are lots of fun for all involved. But as a parent, planning such an event can be pretty stressful. There’s just so much to do – sending invitations, planning the activities, finding a place to have the party, choosing party favors, putting up decorations. It can be quite the exhausting affair!
But did you ever stop to think about how
hard a birthday party is on the environment? All of the disposable products used amount to lots of trees cut down and more waste in the landfills. But with a little forethought, it is entirely possible to have a birthday party that is much more eco-friendly.
• Find alternatives to printed invitations. Use a party planning site such as Evite.com to create fun email invitations and send them out to guests. Or you could simply call guests up to invite them. If your child’s heart is set on paper invitations, find some that are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
• In your invitations, request that guests keep the environment in mind when choosing birthday gifts. Suggest using newspaper or a reusable gift bag instead of wrapping paper. If guests ask what your child would like as a gift, suggest something that he or she will use or play with for a long time to reduce the chances that it will end up in the landfill. You could also suggest making a donation to your child’s favorite environmental or animal welfare organization for example, as an alternative to traditional gifts.
• Paper or plastic plates, cups and flatware make up a large percentage of the waste generated at birthday parties. Reusable tableware is a much greener option, but you don’t have to put your good plates and cups at risk. You can find cheap silverware and plastic plates and cups at discount stores that you can keep on hand for such occasions.
• Find creative ways to green up the decorations, supplies and favors. Make a banner out of recycled paper instead of buying a vinyl one. Avoid balloons, which are not biodegradable, and use streamers or tissue paper pompoms instead. Make party hats out of layers of newspaper wrapped in masking tape. Instead of cheap toys or goody bags for favors, buy some environmentally friendly craft supplies and let the guests make something they can take home and use, like trinket boxes or picture frames.
• If you have more than one child and their birthdays aren’t too far apart, you could combine their parties into one event. You’ll only have to decorate one time instead of two or more, and you’ll only have to serve guests that would have come to multiple parties once. Encourage guests to bring gifts that all of the children can enjoy for years to come, such as a badminton set or board game. This will reduce waste and provide a fun family activity.
Keeping a birthday party environmentally friendly isn’t as hard as it seems. It just takes a little creativity. And when it’s over, you and your child can be proud that you kept Mother Nature in mind while still having a good time.