Throwing my first zero-waste kid birthday party felt like a Choose Your Own Adventure book with one path always leading to the entrance of “You name it” dollar store.
So I enlisted Suzanne Bertani — owner of Green Planet Parties and a green living enthusiast who shares her journey via Mommy Footprint — to help choose the path of least waste.
Home versus away
Zero clean up party packages are alluring. But most don’t allow you to control the type and volume of décor, tableware or treat-bag contents. (Please comment if you know of great zero-waste venues.)
Suzanne: Home or away, omit disposable, single-use, and plastic everything. Decorate with a timeless birthday banner (win it!) or a special tablecloth that can be reused. Choose reusable or compostable tableware.
Me: Home hosting is a lot louder but offers complete control of your waste footprint. Many community centres have reasonable rental rates—with excellent recycling and compost options. Comb thrift stores for tea cups and plates for a Tea Party theme. Kids can take them home or, if they’re old enough, pour soy wax into cups to make nontoxic candles!
Suzanne: Choose sustainable, good-quality, budget-friendly options that will last, e.g., second-hand books, wooden crafts or toys and a litterless snack in a reusable bag.
Me: Have kid’s decorate their own paper bag with nontoxic homemade paints, then fill with jars of homemade play dough or seed bombs!
Don’t forget nature!
Suzanne: Parties can become a lot of work. Pick an age-appropriate, fun and manageable theme. When my boys discovered the magical world of Harry Potter, taking the kids outside to play Muggle Quiddich was a party to remember! And a fairy walk through the woods for my daughter was filled with magic and fun for the entire family. (Here’s a cheat sheet for Wizard and Fairy party themes.)
Living in harmony with nature requires us to choose our own adventure daily! How have you created a zero-waste, nature loving Birthday party?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green