Throwing a party can be exciting, full of lots of planning, decoration buying, and drink making. However, it can also be hugely detrimental to the environment. Plastic bunting, plastic cups, and everything in between can easily end up in a landfill if not recycled properly. Zero waste parties are on the rise, but it can sound like a daunting prospect when you've got 30 kids to entertain and feed. It doesn't have to be as complicated as it sounds though. Here are a few tips to keep your child (and mother nature) happy as can be.
Source decorations from nature
It might sound like a strange idea, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it. The world is full of beautiful things. Spring flowers make for perfect centerpieces, while twigs and leaves can be painted and decorated. Even popcorn looks great on a string. Once you're done with them, the items can be easily composted or re-purposed. If you're throwing a party in autumn or winter, you could even set up a creation station where kids can do leaf painting.
Ditch plastics and use real crockery
Real crockery and kids may sound like a dangerous combo, but generally, kids aged 5 and upwards are old enough to use the real stuff. Plastic cups and plates may seem like the easiest, safest option, but how often have you lost your cup at a party and just grabbed another one because they're readily available? Having real crockery instead of single-use plastics may help your guests to respect what they're using a little bit more. Even real napkins can be used, simply make sure you've got an empty dishwasher and washing machine before you start - or at least, a willing pair of hands at the end!
Go for homemade instead of store-bought food
We all know that kids love to eat, especially when it comes to parties. Going to the supermarket and buying a bunch of stuff is quick and easy, but extremely wasteful. If being kinder to the environment is your goal, then it's time to get in the kitchen. You don't have to be Martha Stewart to throw some cookies together or make some delicious nibbles. Not only will you be helping the Earth, but you'll be in complete control of what the little ones eat. Pre-packaged foods are often chock full of sugar and additives and wrapped in plastic. By going for some delicious, home-baked treats, you can feed your pint-sized guests while also making sure your own kid isn't awake until gone midnight hyped up on sugar.
Use glass drinks dispensers instead of juice cups
Juice cups are a go-to staple for many kids parties as they're easy to dole out and cheap to buy. However, each one is made entirely of plastic and includes a straw. Why not get your hands on some glass drink dispensers and let little ones fill up as and when they like? When they run low, just nip to the kitchen and replenish it. They're cheap to buy and can be used for a variety of things. Some moms keep one on the kitchen side every day so kids can help themselves. Plus, it stops the constant cries of "Mom, I need a drink!"
Ask for plastic-free presents
Aside from the festivities themselves, the presents can be a minefield of waste. There's no denying that the majority of kids toys out there are made of plastics, but at least they tend to get some use. What they're wrapped up in is a different story. More often than not, a ridiculous amount of plastic packaging is used to house these new gadgets, from the boxes themselves to those fiddly plastic ties. Asking for plastic-free presents may sound awkward and difficult, but there are plenty of beautiful gifts that don't use plastic at all. If you don't want to go that far, consider asking for second-hand toys so that you're re-purposing something pre-loved, without the packaging. Kids often don't know the difference and those making the purchase will probably be glad for the money-saving side, too.
Create games that are fun, and nature-friendly
Pass the parcel doesn't have to be ruled out. Get some brown parcel paper and make the prizes eco-friendly and educational. Depending on the time of year, treasure hunts in the garden can keep kids entertained for hours, even if they're looking for a painted rock.
Zero waste parties may take some careful planning, but it's all worth it in the end.