Kids parties these days sometimes get a little out of control. It seems like parents are constantly
competing to see whose child’s party can be the biggest and the best.

All of this competition leads to parties where no expense is spared and enormous amounts of
waste are generated. When the party is over, bags of trash are needed to get rid of the balloons,
decorations, disposable plates and all the rest of the refuse.

You can save a lot of money by reducing waste and going green for your child’s next birthday
party. It does take some prior planning, but you can eliminate waste by keeping the party small
and following some easy tips to go green.

Remember that children usually treasure the memories rather than the material things.
Eliminate all that material waste with these suggestions for planning your child’s birthday party.

1. Online Invitations Are the Way to Go

In the 21st century, there is no need to waste paper and fossil fuels to send traditional paper invitations. Instead, you can simply email electronic invitations to the parents of all the guests at the party.

If you simply cannot pass up tradition, then do not waste gas by driving the paper invitations over. Print out the invitations on recycled paper and hand deliver them by walking or biking to the guests’ homes.

2. Forget the Disposables

Far too many parents use disposable cups, plates, cutlery and tableware for their children’s parties. Avoid this waste by using reusable plates, cups and tablecloths that are kid-friendly. If you must use one-time use items, then make sure they are made from compostable materials made from cellulose.

You should avoid balloons and streamers altogether. Make sure the decorations are either reusable or made from recycled paper. Consider using food, paper streamers, and flowers as eco-friendly decorations.

3. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Everything You Can

Make sure that you put out a recycling bin at the party, and ensure that all the parents and kids use it. You should also have a bin that compostable material like leftovers can be put in.

Make sure that you reduce your energy usage at the party as much as possible by using energy-saving electronics. Use LED or CFL light bulbs for lighting to reduce your carbon footprint.

4. Local, Healthy Foods

Don’t fall into the trap of buying juice boxes and single-serving snacks that create waste. Instead, buy fresh fruit at your local farmers’ market to serve to the kids. You can make the cake and food yourself at home using fresh, local ingredients. This way, you can ensure that you are serving healthy food that is not full of artificial preservatives and coloring like most of the food that is served at traditional kids’ parties. Don’t serve single-serve drinks like cans of pop and bottled water at the party. Instead, put out pitchers of healthy beverages that can be poured in reusable plastic cups.

5. Choose Eco-Friendly Gifts and Activities

As well as ensuring all the materials you use for the party are green, you need to choose activities and gifts that are eco-friendly. Handmade clothes and toys are a great choice for eco-friendly gifts. If you have children who would be happy with it, you can also consider asking for the gift of a donation to their favorite charity rather than a material gift. Instead of spending money and wasting materials buying games, the kids at the party can play games like musical chairs, tag and hopscotch that do not require you to waste any resources. 

Always keep in mind that the three keys to keeping a child’s birthday party as green as possible are to reduce, reuse and recycle. 

Always look for every way you can to reduce the amount of material resources you will consume for the party, and look to use things for the party that can be reused for future parties. Recycle everything you can at the end of the party to make the event as environmentally friendly as you can. 

Even if you can’t follow every tip on this list, just following a few of them will greatly reduce the environmental impact of the party. Every little bit helps when you are trying to keep it green.

Emily Preston is a stay-at-home mom of a young environmentalist, freelance writer, cat lover, fitness junkie, and a huge fan of nature and eco-living. You can follow her via Twitter @emilypreston555

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