Zero-Waste Birthday Parties

It can feel like a struggle to celebrate your child’s birthday without damaging the environment. These tips will help you to host a guilt-free, low plastic birthday party!

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Food & Drink: It amazes me how much sweet food is served at children’s parties. Surely a buffet of low quality biscuits and cupcakes within easy reach of youngsters is a recipe for disaster? Why not offer a healthy range of savoury snacks and fruit. This will help add the ‘wow factor’ when you bring out a delicious home-made birthday cake! I adore the reusable wooden birthday rings with beeswax candles from Myriad.

  • Order fresh organic produce in advance from Riverford. Crunchy pepper, carrot and cucumber sticks are always a popular option.
  • Make your own organic popcorn* using coconut oil. Sweeten using coconut sugar or maple syrup, with a sprinkle of cinnamon to add flavour.
  • If you fancy a few bowls of crisps and tortilla chips to share, wash out the packets and recycle with other flexible plastics at your nearest collection point.
  • Suma organic concentrated apple juice* is an Ethical Consumer ‘best buy’ and it goes a really long way. Make up a jug in advance to save time. You can even add sparkling water for a home-made organic version of Appletizer.

Lots of venues will have tableware available to use, but if you really can’t face the washing up, opt for a compostable disposable option made from a waste resource: these ‘paper’ plates and cups from Little Cherry are made from a waste sugar cane fibre called bagasse.

Decorations: Although floating balloons have a lot of charm, helium is a non-renewable resource which is needed for medical and scientific purposes. Is it really worth using it up for the novelty of a floating balloon? Escaped helium balloons can travel for hundreds of miles and often end up in the ocean where they pose a risk to wildlife. If you really want balloons, look for natural latex, which will biodegrade under the right conditions. Blow them up the old-fashioned way, and string them up with cotton or jute twine.

Cloth bunting is a great way to use up old clothes and fabric scraps. It will last for many years and become a treasured part of your family celebrations. If you’ve got the time, here’s a tutorial on how to make your own.

Biodegradable balloons, cloth bunting and other decorations are available from Little Cherry.

Party Bag Ideas:
It can feel like an obligation to provide going-home presents. Make sure you don’t get caught up in trying to out-do other parents or impress your child’s friends! Here are some inexpensive ideas to inspire you:

  • Wildflower seeds or seed bombs
  • Wooden spinning tops
  • A good quality rainbow pencil
  • Waxed paper to make window stars and instructions
  • DIY Paper Planes
  • A home-made brownie or cookie wrapped in greaseproof paper.
  • A beautiful glass marble (for older children only!)

    Little Cherry do a range of party bag toys including seed bombs, spinning tops, wooden pegs, pencils and lots more. Find them here. Online ethical children’s stores Babipur and Myriad both have pages dedicated to small gifts.

    If you feel there are just too many toys in the world already, how about choosing a book for each child to take home instead?


2 thoughts on “Zero-Waste Birthday Parties”

  1. Just be careful when buying balloons that are advertised as ‘biodegradable’. Even though they may use a biodegradable latex, they still contain plasticizer, colour dyes and other chemicals which are not! And that’s not to mention the damage balloons do to the wild/marine life. It’s best to avoid them altogether and look at some eco-friendly alternatives. I have listed some suggestions here –


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