Whether you're throwing a party for your toddler or your thirteen-year-old, there are so many ways to get creative with decorations, themes, homemade cakes and desserts - and there's no reason why you should spend a small fortune on plastic cups and plates either. In fact, we'd be willing to bet that your home is a treasure trove of things that could easily be reused and recycled to make eco-friendly party decorations. Set an example for all future parties: make use of the things you already have instead of creating more unnecessary waste. Here are three ideas that will help you get this eco-party started!
Food & Table Setting: Keeping it Green
First things first on the party planning agenda, the food. If you're going to throw an eco-friendly party, start with the food and table decor. It would feel somewhat contradictive to be serving up ready-made meals loaded with palm oils and E numbers in an otherwise eco-friendly party environment, right? So, go with the theme. Whip up a party buffet from scratch - it's amazing how much we can do with so little - or stock up on veggies from your local farmer's market for a delicious, vegetarian meal.
As for the plates, cups and cutlery - there's nothing wrong with going for disposable items, just don't opt for plastic. There are great eco alternatives available and they can be stylish too. You could buy compostable bamboo plates and cutlery, for example, and they won't cost you that much more than the plastic variety. If you're low on glasses, you can always use mason jars or even marmalade jars to serve mocktails in. You can decorate them with acrylic paint or keep them as is, adding a bit of whimsy by serving them with edible flowers in ice cubes.
If you do have hard plastic plates, trays or dishes laying around, you can decorate them using tissue paper - they will look really cool and will set the tone for any theme you might want to roll with. Plus, using napkins in this way, is much more sustainable than throwing them out after one single use and they hide the plastic look which, let's face it, is so 80s. If you're using paper plates, set a few aside to make a DIY centrepiece or a cute little cookie basket, for kids - teens and adults - as a goodie-bag. Use the many beautiful gifts of nature to make table decorations with - pretty leaves, twigs, dried flowers, pinecones, flower petals. Anything you can think of - there's a whole world of options right outside your door.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Rock Out: Eco-Friendly Party Decorations
Throw a stellar party for any occasion creating minimal waste and a fun environment - it's so much easier than you might think and you'll find yourself putting things to good use that would have otherwise sat around collecting dust for another four years. Old CDs for example - want to keep it eco-friendly but still create a disco vibe? Then get out all those home-burnt CDs you can no longer play on your stereo but can't quite part with yet either. String them up as funky streamers. Or what about the beach-battered books you've been meaning to get to the second-hand shops for the last six months? Use their pages to create whimsical heart-shaped bunting instead. Often all it takes are minimal supplies to make great things happen.
This year, whatever it is you're celebrating, you won't find yourself having to rush out for party supplies; you're going to feel confident enough to find your own way in making eco-friendly alternatives to balloons, plastic cups and streamers. And, if you're really clever about it, you'll also be able to reuse all your decorations time and again. Get plywood cut into shapes and make your own coasters - paint them, modge podge them, whatever takes your fancy. Instead of balloons, make your own non-toxic, eco-friendly bubbles for the kiddos to blow; teens will enjoy this too. Liven up the room by collecting vines, branches, wheatstalks or flowers to decorate the walls and other areas of the room with. Get out the jar of shells you collected on holiday for a beachy vibe or paint rocks in all types of colours and designs to decorate the table and other areas of the party zone with.
Craft paper is always a great go-to when it comes to creating cheap, easy and creative party supplies. You can use it to make anything from bunting and confetti to party-hats, homemade birthday cards, invites and even cake toppers. You can also use it to wrap and embellish presents with. Newspaper, old magazine pages, crepe paper and even oven paper can make for great gift wrapping alternatives too. To make it all come together, use old buttons, leaves or candy wrappers to create bows and other decorative features with.
A Zero Waste Party Policy
If you're going to throw an eco-friendly party, make sure everyone is on it. The whole family is going to want to contribute to party supplies, decorations and gifts, so let them know ahead of time that the idea is to keep it green. One of the main things that tends to go to waste at parties, is the food. This has to do with the fact that, somewhere along the way, many of us picked up on that weird notion that bigger is always better. We may try to justify it all by telling ourselves we'll be eating leftovers for the rest of the week, but even then, chances are a lot of food will still end up in the bin.
All this can be avoided with clear communication - yes, even well-meaning, star-baker grannies will have to stick to the zero-waste party police this time. Have a family meeting in which you can all agree on who contributes which food and party supplies. Haggle granny down to two desserts and then divide the snacks, mains, cake, plates, cups and cutlery tasks up between everyone else. Not only is this a great way to get everyone involved in the party planning process, but it is also a way to ensure that you won't end up with any unnecessary excesses.
Should this party involve exchanging gifts, it's also a good idea to encourage everyone to go for used, recycled or upcycled presents. It might be difficult for some people to wrap their head around it at first, but you'll be surprised how creative some will get once they set their mind to it. Suddenly your kids will be rocking the latest in sustainable fashion - from recycled paper earrings to a stylish, DIY printed t-shirt. Ask guests to consider their gift wrapping choices too, they'll be happy to have found an excuse for getting rid of all the scrap paper piling up in their home offices!