How to reduce waste when hosting a child's birthday party

Joyful moments are meant to be celebrated, especially when it involves your kids. Be it birthdays, holidays, get-togethers, children cherish these moments and the memories can often last a lifetime for parents. Children’s birthday parties are filled with loads of food and drink, decorations, activities and games.

But, what this usually means is a lot of waste at the end of the celebration. Leftover food, used plastic cutlery and plates, paper napkins, one-time-use decorations, punctured balloons and lots more. The good news is you can reduce these waste to a bare minimum – and still throw an incredible party for your child. A kid’s party does not have to be laden with waste.

Throwing an almost-zero-free kid’s party is quite possible and we’re here to give you guidance on how to do it! Here are some insights on how to eliminate needless waste and have fun-filled kids’ parties. And the best part is that your child and their party guests wont miss all the waste – after all you are protecting the health of the planet for their future.   

Zero Waste Birthday Invitations for Kids

zero waste baby clothes

We are all familiar with the traditional custom of sending paper invitations to invitees. Once opened and tacked to the fridge for a month they inevitably get tossed away.

If you’re hosting kids’ parties and you want to send out invitations, skip the formal paper invites and just go with email invites. There’s lots of great online tools that will help you manage your invites and their RSVPS, and your guests will appreciate the ease of use as well – one site we like is Greenvelope  - which offers super cute high-end designs for electronic invitations, like the one shown above.   

Zero Waste Birthday Decorations  & Games

zero waste baby diapers

Kids’ parties are usually filled with loads of decorations. From balloons to banners, streamers, bunting, flowers and more – decorations tend to play a big part in the celebration. Most of the time these decorations are related to a specific theme for the event – maybe your little one likes fire trucks, or farm animals, rainbows, or unicorns.  But the problem is, once the party is done, that theme is most likely not going to repeat itself again – meaning all those decorations are tossed (unless you have someone who wants to take them off your hands).  There's also usually games and activities - many which involve single-use plastic disposable items that will just get tossed out at the end of the party. 

Why not instead opt for reusable decorations, and  low-impact party games? You can opt for a homemade banner that is not customized for the party theme, but rather to the child’s name. Are balloons really necessary? Do they really hold any significance? Maybe consider skipping these and instead going with garlands and buntings made of fabrics or natural materials. These can be used time and time again.   We love games that involve food, like these ice cream cone windmills shown above - because food will be served regardless, and its a good way to minimize needless waste and cleanup if they just eat it up! :)  

Food, Drink & Serveware    

zero waste baby skin care

What’s a party without food? Whether its pizza or hotdogs, sandwiches and snacks, fruit, cake and candies, kids just love it all – but bear in mind that they really do not consume that much because the excitement of having fun overwhelms them. This is why there are always leftovers and wastage.  You can opt for smaller servings for the kids. Need a way to properly assess how much food to order for the party? Check out our handy party planning guide here.

And of course with food, you’ll also need serve ware – yet another massive contributor to waste. But there is a much better alternative that doesn’t require you slaving over dishes once the party is done – disposable eco-friendly palmware from Naturally Chic. We offer biodegradable disposable dinnerware that is absolutely perfect for any kind of party, especially a kid’s party. You can check out our large selection of palm leaf plates, bowls and cutlery here. Want a discount? Use PARTYPLAN at checkout for $5 off your order.

Another idea is inform other parents before hand to come with reusable containers so that their little ones can take a ‘doggy bag’ home with them. This will cut down on food waste significantly  

Birthday Gifts that Give Back 

zero waste baby toys

Kids’ parties are always laden with gifts. While they might seem necessary, just think about all the gifts you will inevitably need to buy for your child’s friends and relatives over the years. The costs add up and so does the waste!

One trend we are loving is kids deciding to opt out of receiving gifts, and instead, asking for guests to make a donation to their charity of choice. A recent party we attended had the host (5 year old Miles) request donations be made to the local Humane Society, because he loves animals.   

This approach really is a beautiful way to encourage your child to give back and see the importance is giving vs. receiving. Acts of kindness like these will bring them so much more joy than any toy could. And they'll feel like a superhero and so will their guests - a win win for everyone! 

Some final thoughts about reducing waste at your child's birthday party...

We understand that it's not possible to do it all - and nor should you! Hosting a party can be hectic and stressful. We like to encourage parents to take small steps in reducing their waste and living a lower impact life, and appreciate every effort made!  Stay tuned for more thoughts on how to live low impact with children. 

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