How to throw a plastic-free kids party
How to throw a next-level birthday party, that’s kind to the planet
BY GEMMA OWEN
Kids parties are all about fun, games and delicious treats. But once you throw in the plastic plates, cheap knick knacks and dozens of bags of rubbish they can suddenly become a sustainable headache. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way, with a little planning and creative thinking it’s possible to plan a party that the kids will love (along with their planet loving parents!). Here are our top 10 tips.
Taking time to carefully plan what you need in advance (food, decorations, games.) will save you from impulse purchasing. It also allows time to source items you need at little or no cost – such as making bunting to decorate the table, borrowing extra glasses or plates from a friend, or hiring chairs.
EDIT YOUR FOOD LIST
You don’t need one of each food item for each guest. The average adult will eat around four to five canape sized serves of food per hour. A canape sized piece equals one piece of sushi, a few strawberries, a couple of crackers with cheese, or half of a bigger item like a cupcake. Kids will eat about three to four canape sized serves per hour.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
It’s easy to go overboard with decorations and games. But excess is not good for the environment, or your wallet! Limit waste by planning to decorate just one area of the party space (usually around the table) and sticking to one or two games or activities. For the most part, young kids create their own fun, so a less structured party works best anyway!
GO FOR QUALITY
If you’re buying decorations, look for well-made, durable pieces that you’ll get more than one use out of. Choose bunting that can be hung in a bedroom, table confetti that the kids can use for craft afterwards, cake toppers you’ll use again – it’s about quality, not quantity.
LOOK FOR ECO PLATES
If you’re planning to use disposable tableware, biodegradable and recyclable options exits. Similarly, certain brands of balloons are more eco-friendly than others. For example Qualatex balloons are fully biodegradable.
SAY NO TO SINGLE-USE WATER BOTTLES
Individual plastic bottles for kids are convenient, but create a lot of waste. Buy drinks in larger bottles and serve in reusable cups or glasses if you can. If disposable cups are the go; pop out a pen so that guests can write their name on theirs and reuse it throughout the party.
TURN TO NATURE
Greenery and florals used as party decorations are very much on trend. Go beyond bunches of flowers and get really creative. Larger leaves can be used as placemats or table runners. Smaller leaves can be popped into mason jars, or to create garlands around centrepieces. Flowers can be tied to strings for bunting or backdrops. And it can all be turned into mulch or added to your compost at the end.
BINS ON DISPLAY
Set out a tub or box for rubbish, one for recyclables and one for food scraps if you compost.
TO LOOT OR NOT TO LOOT?
Party bags are absolutely not essential, but let’s face it, they’re a fun way to end a party and kids love them. Avoid creating extra landfill by filling your bags with one or two quality items (e.g. a small book or box of crayons) instead of multiple single-use plastic toys.
Keep your party footprint light by emailing digital invitations instead of printing and sending.
Gemma Owen is a co-founder of kids party kit creator hoorayday.com.au