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Want your child’s birthday party to make an impact on the guests and not the environment? It’s easier than you think to throw a green birthday bash without straining your budget or disappointing your child.
First, it’s best to face facts: your kid has been to enough birthday parties to know what one looks like. Donating money to a local charity in his name or swapping the cake for organic yogurt and berries isn’t going to go over well. Although maintaining the party’s air of fun is paramount, making sensible choices for the parts you have the greatest control over is still possible.
How to Throw a Green Birthday Party for Your Child
Choosing a Theme
Let’s start with the theme. The latest superhero or cartoon character is probably not the best choice since the accompanying supplies are typically available only en masse from your local big-box or party store. However, with a little imagination, any kid-friendly theme of a ubiquitous nature is workable, such as cowboys, princesses, pirates and so on.
Not only are they conducive to a host of engaging activities, but the decorations can also be crafted at home and from (hopefully recycled or recyclable) materials of your own choosing. Handmade invitations are also a great opportunity to splurge for recycled stationery or something especially cool like Plantable Paper.
Serving your guests is an integral component of any party and an oft-overlooked burden on the environment. It’s very important here to skip the plastics, as they’re mostly made from non-biodegradable petroleum products.
Use your own silverware, asking a friend or family member to bring extra for filling in the gaps in case you run short. If for some reason you lack that support or just feel compelled to go with plastics, collect them from guests and wash in the dishwasher for reuse at future gatherings.
Plates, Cups, and Napkins
If you don’t have any household plates, cups and cloth napkins that you’d be OK with losing to the occasional errant child, a paper is a possibility. Check with your city’s food-waste recycling program. Where I live in Seattle, soiled (unwaxed) paper products can be thrown into the compost bin and get mulched together with everything else.
Selecting a Gift
The gifts may very well be the toughest challenge for the Eco-minded party planner. One option is to recycle toys among friends and family. This works especially well for younger children. Consignment and thrift stores also have many new and like-new items that you would do well to rescue from a landfill. In most metro areas, you’ll also find that there are sustainable toy shops opening to meet customer demand.
Although you won’t be doing your bank account any favors by purchasing at the higher-end of these stores, they still offer smaller, affordable toys made from natural woods and corn-based biodegradable plastics.
Eco Gift Wrapping
When it comes time to wrap your gift, don’t forget that old comic books, magazines, and fabric from thrift stores make for especially creative wraps. Read A Creative Gift Wrap Alternative for more options.
Making use of these ideas for your child’s next birthday party can do wonders to keep the festive atmosphere alive without sacrificing your commitment to sustainability. Reducing flashy “goody bags” filled with useless junk and setting up an interactive party game instead will make any party much more fun and memorable.
Yes, it is possible to pull everything together in a responsible way while staying on budget and delighting your child. Most importantly, your actions will help teach our future generations that we always have a chance—even on special occasions—to show that we care about our planet.