OK...Can we talk birthdays ? And kids parties? I know, I know, but this year Freyas party was a bit of a challenge for us, we had vowed to make is sustainable as possible, but there was a conflict of interests to be resolved first.
So we can do our best to influence our kids all we like, and it all seems like its going great on the environmental and sustainability train until.... birthday time, and all I see flash before me is an endless sea of plastic, sparkles and balloons. Of course she just wants a “normal birthday” with pretty decorations. No hessian table cloths, jam jars or overwhelming smells of hemp. But is that really the only alternative? There must be a way that I can make a special party with all of the trimmings without it becoming a single use free-for-all.
I was going to have to get smart. Party supplies almost always end up in landfill, I was just going to have to sweep in and intercept before they got there.
This particular aspect of parenting I am finding very hard, how can I guide the children in line with our way of thinking but also ensure that they are not left out of trends and fads? Naturally they have the strength of character to be able to voice their opinions and not follow the crowd but we can all remember the immense pressure to conform that there is throughout childhood.
•Pinterest is your friend. There is a tutorial for practically everything. Freya had been pinning pictures of JOJO Siwa cakes for months and had an extravaganza in mind. All that I wanted was for it to be vegan and for her to like it. Thankfully pinterest had a great recipe for Vegan lemon drizzle cake, add a bit of pink food colouring tho the icing and it worked like a charm. I made the cake topper from leftover wrapping paper and card. Then topped with sweeties and a signature Jojo bow on a stick.
•Dishes. Did you know that despite the fact that disposable plates, straws and cups are largely made of paper, they are still not recyclable! They are wax or plastic coated, so when they are used once and then “disposed” of, they head straight for landfill and take a long time to decompose. I used my regular crockery for the party, most which I have been collecting since I was at college. It’s an eclectic mix of colours and styles that I have been buying as one off items from second hand shops for years. I made a decision, vastly out of desperation when my little darlings arrived on the scene that I should abandon all hopes of owning swanky glass sets and beautiful matching crockery because I could not keep up with the breakage rate! Sure I have my favourite items that stayed in the cupboard but this way, if anything got broken it could be cheaply and easily replaced. I’m owning that decision and fully recommend that you follow suit!
- Paper chains made by painting on used notepaper
- Solar lights and bunting borrowed from family
- Birthday banners recycled from last year
•As this was a family party we did away with party bags, however, there are some great companies now offering eco party bags, a quick search on insta will bring up a few. Heres a link to a great Plymouth based company: https://www.facebook.com/ecopartybag/
Alternatively, you could give guests a cookie or a cupcake.
•Balloons: we made a conscious effort not to use balloons this year because of their environmental impact.
•Food. As this was a BBQ we were able to ask guests to bring along something that they would like to have cooked, this meant that we were able to minimise waste, and anything that wasn’t cooked guests were able to take home with them again. We provided buns, sauces and a couple of side dishes.
•Entertainment. Freya wanted a paddling pool in the garden at her party, Pretty much all of them are made from plastic! As a compromise I purchased one from gumtree that had only been used once.
My apologies for the lack of pictures this time, I was too busy being mamma! !
We would love to hear your sustainable party hacks in the comments 🙂
xx A xx
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