Making children’s birthday parties a little more eco-friendly, By Tammy Ryan, icecreamandjelly.com
I love a party and throwing parties for my daughter is my all time favourite thing. However, parties have sadly become synonymous with single use plastic and an abundance of waste. So, it’s down to all of us to start making some more eco-conscious choices and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing; if we can each make a few small changes, it will make a big difference.
Fortunately, these days throwing a more eco-friendly party doesn’t need to cost you a fortune and you don’t need to compromise on style. There are so many great new businesses offering fabulous eco-friendly and sustainable solutions from decorations and tableware to party bags and party bag fillers.
When it comes to decorations, my top tip is to either make or buy some that you can use year after year. If you are the creative type and have a sewing machine to hand, then making some fabric bunting is a great place to start and you could even make these from upcycled clothes, curtains or bed linen. If you’d prefer to buy some ready made bunting, ‘Pri Pri’ make beautiful coloured bunting from upcycled sari fabric, which can be personalised. You could also look at creating felt or pom-pom garlands, or buying paper fans, lanterns or honeycomb decorations.
When choosing tableware, you have lots of options. You could hire some from your local Party Kit Network, buy reusable plates and cups that you can use year after year (you could even purchase these secondhand), or buy a set that is recyclable or compostable, I particularly like the ones from Pico Parties.
Party bags are usually the major downfall for most of us. However, help is at hand. Bags Wonder Full aim to offer party bags ‘without the plastic tat’ and offer both ready-made party bags with all the trimmings, or the chance to create your own so you can tailor them to your party theme and the age of the children. They also offer a party box with a secondhand book, which is such a great idea. I also love the baking boxes from Craft and Crumb, my daughter and I recently made the unicorn biscuits! Play in Choc is another eco alternative, offering little boxes of chocolate and a cardboard toy to build – they remind me of an eco-friendly version of a Kinder surprise.
For gift wrapping, you could use; recycled paper, your children’s drawings, furoshiki fabric pieces , reuse gift bags, decorate brown paper (to make your own unique design) or make a drawstring fabric gift bag, which the recipient could use to organise their toys in long after their birthday has passed. Planet Wrap It offers a great selection of recycled gift wrap, and you can find Furoshiki fabric from both Planet Wrap It and Pri Pri.
Handmade cards always go down well and you could even cut up and collage your old birthday cards to make a new one. Alternatively, you could go for an electronic one with mini-epic or perhaps invest in a birthday book from Loved by Olivia, which you use year after year and will create a gorgeous keepsake. You can even buy cards that are made out of seed paper, which you can then plant and watch the flowers grow!
As for party games, there are definitely some small changes we can make, such as reusing wrapping paper or using your children’s drawings to wrap the layers for a game of pass the parcel, or using a series of little fabric drawstring bags for each layer. Or you could make your own piñata out of cardboard boxes and decorate it with magazines and left over coloured paper and fill it with eco-friendly sweets and chocolates.
If that’s got your creative juices flowing and you’d like to discover more ideas, then please do visit my blog www.icecreamandjelly.com.