Sustainability, Useful tools

How to throw a sustainable children’s party

24 June, 2021

Birthday girl wth gift and party hat
You only need to clean up after one children’s party to know that they create a lot of waste – usually of the ‘single-use plastic’ variety. Here are some simple ways to make your party more sustainable (and minimise the clean-up while you’re at it!).

Did you know that, according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), each Australian uses 130kg of plastic every single year? And that only 12 per cent of that is recycled?

Of the 10 worst culprits identified by the WWF, seven are often found at parties: plastic plates, containers, cups, cutlery, balloon sticks, drink stirrers and straws.

It goes without saying, then, that throwing your unwanted party supplies into the recycling bin after your child’s birthday party simply isn’t enough. All that waste ends up in landfill, in gutters and, worst of all, among the 130,000 tonnes of plastic that finds its way into our waterways each year – studies show it’s even entering our food chain and winding up on our family’s dinner plates. Yuck.

So, what can you do about it? The solution is simple! Here are 10 easy ways to make your next party more sustainable.

  1. Purchase generic decorations you’ll use time and time again – think tea lights, pom pom garlands and generic signs like ‘It’s party time!’ (not ‘Sweet 16!’).
  2. Decorate with natural materials wherever possible, both to save money (you’ll find everything you need in your backyard or local park) and to avoid unsustainable plastic decorations.
  3. Use what you have – you don’t need to rush out to buy a plastic tablecloth when you have a spare sheet in your linen cupboard! Why not even provide some fabric markers and let the kids draw on it if it won’t be missed?
  4. Eliminate food waste by carefully planning your menu and only topping up food stations when they’re empty (whatever isn’t cooked or removed from the fridge can go in lunch boxes!).
  5. Serve finger food to avoid having to use plastic plates and cutlery, and also minimise the clean-up.
  6. Ask your guests to wrap their presents in newspaper, pre-used wrapping paper or even sheets of hand-drawn artwork – not only will these biodegrade, but they’re also a lot more fun!
  7. On that same note, if you’re planning on playing Pass the Parcel, steer clear of your traditional wrapping paper – shiny wrapping paper is often made with a plastic film coating rendering it unrecyclable.
  8. Provide your guests with a cool reusable cup at the door, labelled with their name to avoid confusion – they’ll even be able to take it home afterwards to remember your party by.
  9. Rather than plastic party bags, consider buying a pencil case, cosmetics bag or even lunch box and filling it with treats instead. It’s a much more practical and sustainable option!
  10. If you must opt for single-use décor and partyware, ensure it’s biodegradable – natural materials like wood and sugarcane pulp are the perfect plastic alternative.

We’ve listed some sustainable eco-friendly activities for you to try with the children!

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