Caring for the environment and celebrating special moments can go hand in hand with these eco-friendly party ideas.
Parties are a great way to connect with friends and family. Sadly most parties are not eco-friendly and end up doing a lot of damage as you fill up trash bag after trash bag with paper dishes, cans, and plastic decorations.
While it can be expensive upfront to throw a fully sustainable event, we are sharing some small ways you can reduce your impact and throw an environmentally friendly party (or at least more so than you normally would)—even if just starting out and looking to make only a few changes.
These eco-friendly party tips will help you have all of the fun without as much waste.
By aiming for a slightly more green birthday party or another event, we help kids learn to make a difference, one plate or straw at a time.
These tips and products are perfect for considering when setting plans for an adult birthday party as well.
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Table of Contents
Eco-Friendly Party Ideas & Tips
Rethink the dishes
Styrofoam, coated paper plates, and utensils account for a huge amount of waste at parties. Consider using real dishes, glasseware and utensils.
This is better than using the fancier-looking hard plastic plates designed for fancier gatherings to be tossed into the trash.
Rent real dishes if you do not have enough.
You could also spend your budget renting really nice dishes that you do not have to worry about the environmental impact of that will double as party decor as well.
For a more relaxed gathering, choose to use unwaxed paper plates that can be burned in your fire pit if greasy or ripped up and placed into your compost bin if they are not greasy.
Buying biodigradable plates is a great way to ensure that your plates do not end up in landfills and can, in the end, be beneficial.
Make sure no one is tossing things that should not go into the fire along with the plates, and you can even use the ash in your garden.
This set of 25 eco-friendly plates, biodigradable napkins, and eco friendly forks, knives and spoons is a great example of many of the recyclable or compostable party packs that could be used in place of plastics.
Skip the plastic cutlery & straws
One-time use plastic silverware and plastic packagaing makes up a large chunk of our landfills.
Instead of using plastic utensils you can buy wooden silverware that can be shredded for the compost pile or tossed into the fire pit to burn rather than the trash to never break down in a landfill.
Look for this cutlery made from easily renewed resources like hemp plastics that are 100% compostable.
Plastic straws should also be avoided, and replaced with resuable straws (which could be a great eco-friendly party favor) or biodigradable paper straws like these on Amazon.
When you plan your child’s party food, buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging involved in feeding everyone at the party.
When setting up the food, take a zero waste approach by using bowls, dishes and serving platters that can be washed, rather than thrown out.
This is a great way to save money while helping reduce the environmental impact of your party so you can feel good about getting everyone together and enjoying some quality time with friends and family.
Eco Friendly Invitations
It is still possible to write creative party invitation messages without having to use paper that quickly turns to trash.
Use digital invitations
A great way to reduce paper usage and the emissions in transportation is to skip the paper invitations and use digital invites for your party.
You can create some pretty great digital invites or simply use invite options on your favorite social media program to help get the news out for your party and get RSVPs with a lower carbon footprint.
Seed Plantable Invitations
Alternatively you could print out invitation on plantable invitations that contain wildflower seeds, and encourage invited guests to plant their invitation once they have written down the details.
Eco Friendly Party Decorations
Reuse Items or Other’s Decorations
Be mindful when decorating, and when possible, use what you already have to decorate for your party.
Many of us already have plenty of leftovers from other parties, and nearly anyone can find great options for decorating around their home.
String lights are a great way to add ambiance to a backyard party.
A twin sheet fits a folding table to use as a tablecloth perfectly. In fact, a fitted sheet will stay on better than any table cloth.
Flowers as the Ultimate Earth Friendly Decoration
Grow your own flowers to decorate with. Growing a garden is a great way to help the environment, and if you want to decorate your summer parties with flowers, the best way to keep it eco-friendly is to grow those flowers yourself.
Potted flowers make great eco-friencly centerpieces.
Add solar lawn lights to each pot for a pop of light. Filling ornamental garden beds with flowers that work well in cut bouquets is a great way to keep flowers for parties and gifts on hand all summer long.
Shop for Eco-Friendly Party Supplies & Decorations
Skip the disposable decorations even if you plan to buy decor for your party.
Many themed decorations are made of low-quality paper coated in thin plastic. These items are made for single-use and will go right to the landfill after the party is over because they can not be recycled.
Instead, you can opt to use items like streamers that can be composted, or participate in balloon recycling programs or pass along balloons to another individual for their event if a balloon garland is a must have for your party.
Making your own banners and decor is a great way to use fabric for a more sustainable option.
Fabric banners make a great addition to party decor for kids and can easily become fun additions to their bedroom after the party.
Skip the cheap party favors
Many parties use cute little plastic bags full of plastic items that may be amusing but quickly land in the trash.
Skip the party favors or opt for something that doesn’t create waste, such as homemade treats in recycled, compostable paper sacks, or a potted succulent for each guest.
You can even use this as a chance to help reduce waste by giving everyone reusable tumblers they can use at the party in place of goodie bags helping reduce waste both at your party and after while giving them something to remember the party by.
Fill the tumbler with candy purchased in bulk, homemade favors or other eco-concious favor ideas.
Choose Recycled or Sustainable Entertainment
Most traditional party games like pin the tail on the donkey are a wasteful concept as they add extra plastic to the trash pile.
Instead, use chalk to draw games on sidewalks or gather board games from local resale shops and place a stack of games out for party-goers to encourage them to split off and play a game for the fun of it.
By purchasing used, it won’t be the end of the world if a piece comes up missing.
If you find games with missing pieces, you can put them in a box and encourage your guests to come up with their own games.
While a zero waste party may take a bit more planning, there are small and easy steps you can take to buy more eco friendly party ideas, supplies and decorations that are environmentally friendly.
If taking care of the Earth is a priority for you, then this type of party is even more reason to celebrate!
Love the Earth? Check these cute Earth Day Color By Number printables.