Updated: Aug 10
Before lockdown, most people attended one or more large celebrations a year. However, these parties sadly often cause excessive amounts of waste that contribute to the negative impact that we have on our planet.
Here are some ideas that you could use at your parties to make them more eco-friendly:
Instead of using the colourful plastic letters that you often see at children's birthday parties, use a natural alternative. The use of leaves or flowers as confetti is very popular among the zero waste community as all you have to do is collect and hole punch some of these plants. It is a somewhat lengthy process but they are an effective decoration at any party and are of course, completely compostable!
10% of balloons released into the air do not pop and can end up in areas of biodiversity. This poses a great threat to the wildlife of this planet. So, instead of using balloons at your parties you could simply use banners that can be reused year upon year.
In 2015, UK households wasted 7.3 million tonnes of food and according to more recent data, one in two people are suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition. Parties only increase the pressure that we are putting on these issues. Therefore, instead of buying extra food to ensure that all your guests are fed, you could calculate as precisely as you can (with a little wiggle room) how much food you will need so that the price of your event is reduced as well as the amount of food waste. If you do have more food than you, your friends and family can manage, then perhaps take a look at Olio, an app that is combatting food waste. All you have to do it post your food on the app and someone will come and pick it up. Furthermore, to reduce your food waste, you could also ensure that you limit the amount of plastic packaging produced by buying locally (such as at Filling Good) and in paper where possible. Also, you could provide completely or mostly plant based food to reduce your carbon footprint.
Single Use Plates, Cups and Cutlery
Paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery are often viewed as a necessity at large gatherings. However, these items have a detrimental impact on the environment. When buying paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery, you are also telling the companies that created them that you want more of these items. This misleads companies to believe that they can continue to have a dreadful impact on the environment without any consequences, such as Coca-Cola, which is not what our planet needs. An alternative is to ask a couple of friends to bring some of their cutlery and plates to be used and then returned to them. If you have children, you could set up a fund to buy a set of reusable utensils for your children's classes that parents can borrow for their children's parties.
Children's Party Bags
Growing up, I accumulated a lot of clutter from party bags. This could include whistles, bouncy balls, toys and many more. For most parents, party bags are a nightmare, both for those receiving and giving them. Alternatively, you could try and allow children to take home items that can both be enjoyed and not gather dust, such as cakes made at the party or personalised chocolate from a local business. You could also give the children a present that will help to nurture their relationships with nature, such as a Seedbom.
I hope that you find these tips useful! When we choose the eco-friendly way, we are actively fighting for a better future of the planet.