First, know that no one family–or birthday party–is perfect. Simply do your best to be thoughtful about your choices and remember–it’s supposed to be fun!
Then, check out these ten tips for greening up your child’s next special day:
- Have the birthday boy or girl make their own decorations. It’s a great way for them, and their siblings or friends, to really personalize their big day while eliminating the need for piles of throw-away decorations.
- Shop for gifts responsibly. This can be a tough one with so many toys and other products out there being manufactured in less than ethical or earth-friendly ways. Thankfully, there are many wonderful companies, like Green Toys, making ethically produced and eco-friendly toys that any kid would love.
- Send digital invitations. Work with your child to design and send their own digital custom birthday party invites from a site like Paperless Post.
- Don’t give into to peer pressure–just go ahead and skip the goodie bags. From the cellophane baggies themselves to the cheap trinkets that fill them, there’s nothing earth friendly about this tradition. Instead, have guests make a neat craft (think homemade picture frame or pencil holder from recycled materials) to take home with them.
- Rethink traditional wrapping paper. Other options include pretty pieces of fabric, reusable gift or tote bags or even the brown paper that comes in shipping boxes. If you do end up with regular wrapping paper, remember–much of it can be recycled.
- Avoid heavily packaged snacks and drinks like juice boxes and individually wrapped foods. Instead, stick to low waste foods like fruits (watermelon, apple slices, etc.) and homemade goodies. Serve drinks in a pitcher, accompanied by some reusable cups.
- Limit disposables. While you probably can’t eliminate them entirely (paper towels, anyone?), it’s pretty easy to cut back by choosing reusable dishes, cups, silverware and even tablecloths (or try having kids decorate a plain sheet to go with the party theme).
- Play zero-waste games. Skip games that generate a lot of trash–like pinatas–and opt instead for games that can be put together from household items. Musical chairs, hot potato, clothespin drop and a three-legged race are all zero-waste, to name a few.
- Get the guests in on it! Encourage recycling while the party is in progress by placing clearly marked, easy to find recycling containers around your home.
Implementing even just a few of these ideas can go a long way toward a greener celebration!