Birthday parties are a big deal, not only for the birthday girl or boy, but also for anyone involved in the planning process. Developing a theme, guest list, invitations and menu can become a headache for the party planner. Disposable items, such as plates, utensils and tablecloths, simplify the process, but result in a lot of waste. Add that to the trash produced from gift wrapping, and you have a lot of garbage from one event.
Here are some ideas for more sustainable birthday parties:
Invitations: Print your invitations on recycled paper or get creative and make your own out of scrap paper. This gives kids the opportunity to decorate their own unique invitations. Or, scrap the paper altogether and send out invitations via a website such as Evite.
Decorations/Table Settings: Use reusable dishes and utensils instead of disposable as well as a cloth tablecloth. Purchase inexpensive cups or water bottles for drinks—not only are they sustainable, but they are great party favors. Use fabric markers to personalize cloth napkins, another cool keepsake. Let your guests write messages/draw pictures on the tablecloth; it makes a unique keepsake for the birthday girl/boy.
Food: Steer clear of individually packaged drinks and snacks (not only do they produce a lot of waste, but they are typically more expensive than larger packages). Keep pitchers of punch, water or other drinks on hand.
Gifts: Ask guests to wrap presents in newspaper, brown paper bags or fabric. The packaging can be personalized for the birthday girl or boy and then recycled at the end of the day.
Goodie Bags: Help guests create personalized goodie bags. Ask guests to bring an old t-shirt to be created into a reusable tote bag. Fill the bags with a handful of candy or other goodies.
There are tons of other ideas for green birthday parties online. Check them out or get creative and develop your own green party ideas for your next birthday.
About the author: Maureen Ray is a corporate communications intern at Rumpke.