Tips for a Zero Waste Birthday Party | So I can barely believe Oliver is a year old. I know people say that time flies but holy cow – what just happened?! Well, here we are. This past year has been nothing short of amazing. He has truly filled a void in our lives that we never knew existed. He’s funny, gentle, sweet, and quirky. His personality is so unique and wonderful. We are so, so lucky.
I knew far back that his party was going to be very simple. Sometimes less is more and to keep not only the waste in check, but the stress in check, simple was the only way to go.
The key in planning a waste free party without driving yourself crazy is to first think of all of the stuff that generally makes having parties so wasteful. And seriously, this couldn’t get any simpler – just replace all of the waste causing items with reusables.
Whoa – did I just blow your mind. We’ve traditionally gotten accustomed to throwing these elaborate, expensive parties with gobs of balloons, streamers, themed disposable plates, napkins, cutlery, plastic party favors, mountains of gifts, and more.
But let me assure you, parties don’t have to be that way and in my honest opinion…shouldn’t be that way. I can’t think of a million other ways to show your child they are cared for on their birthdays.
So to break this down, here are my tips to making your parties trash free, hassle free, and full of fun!
Tips for a Zero Waste Birthday Party
Skip the Disposables
Provide Plant-based Food
As you already know, my husband and I eat a primarily plant-based diet. We made potato salad, spinach and walnut salad, grilled veggies with spinach pesto, and I made two pies. We didn’t make a cake for the party since Ollie had already consumed two cakes this week.
Ok not the entire cakes but still enough that my heart rate increased watching him eat it. I figured he is 1, he will not care or remember if he got a third cake during his party. He’s way more concerned with climbing onto everything he can.
Why plant-based? Plant based food has less of an environmental impact and is easily found without packaging. Simple as that.
Now, I do realize that everyone doesn’t make the same dietary choices as we do – and that’s perfectly fine – so I mentioned on the invitations to bring a side dish. That also helped save us quite a bit of money as we weren’t entirely feeding 25 people out of our own pockets.
Try BYOG (Bring Your Own Gear)
As I was finishing the final touches before guests started arriving, my mother mentioned to me that my party reminded her of church luncheons when she was little. Disposables were never used at those functions so you were always expected to bring your own plates, cups, and cutlery. We used to do it this way people!
Have a Compost Bin
Set up a Dirty Dish Drop-off Location
Related: Zero Waste Dish Soap Alternatives
Keep the Decorations Minimal
Do the decorations really matter? Not for a zero waste birthday party. Are you trying to impress your child or the parents attending the party? I’m simply asking these questions because I asked myself the same ones to which I realized the decorations were more about impressing the adults.
Skip the balloons (I know the golden number balloons are trendy but ugh…), the plastic table coverings, plastic party favors, and streamers altogether. They are not necessary.
Divert the Importance Away from Gifts
This year, we very explicitly stated that we did not want any gifts for Oliver, instead, we chose to put together a time capsule to be opened on his 18th birthday. We asked family members to write him a heart felt note so that he could read it when he’s getting ready to start his path to adulthood.
You could also start a college fund or have money donated to a charity in your child’s name. There are many alternatives to the traditional gifts. I’ll have to write another post about those in the future