Spring is a time for celebrations and with parties comes plastic waste. Here’s some ideas on how to organize a party with less plastic waste.
Send electronic invitations
Send electronic invitations via email or text message to save paper and let your guests know that you are throwing a plastic-free party. This raises awareness about the issue and ensures that your well meaning guest will not (accidentally) bring plastic decorations or party favors.
Get creative with your decorations
Skip balloons and other plastic decorations like banners and streamers. Balloons are a choking hazard for small children and if left in the wild, animals can accidentally eat them. In addition to balloons, ditch plastic glitter altogether. Glitter is difficult to clean and wind can carry it all over the place.
Instead of plastic decorations, create decorations from scrap paper and tissue paper. Bunting, pinwheels, and garlands made out of paper are festive and recyclable. Use dried fruit and salvaged plants, sticks, and pine cones as decorations. Try using old newspaper, scrap paper, or cloth tablecloths instead of plastic ones. If you want to use glitter indoors, replace the plastic stuff with colorful paper circles you can cut out of scrap paper using a hole-puncher. Only the sky and your imagination are the limits!
Ditch plastic cutlery and cups
The most sustainable way to serve food is on ceramic plates with metal utensils. However, if you are in a park or don’t have enough ceramic plates, you can use bamboo plates and cutlery. Bamboo dishes are compostable and stylish for any party. You can also serve finger foods that are easy to eat without plates.
Plastic water bottles and red solo cups are a party staple, but terrible for the environment. Pour drinks in washable cups and encourage your guests to bring their own water bottles. You can get a large water dispenser and fill it with water and fresh fruit for a fancy drink that guests can serve themselves. If you must use disposable cups, get compostable ones instead of the regular plastic ones.
Create sustainable goody bags
If you’re planning to hand out goody bags, use paper bags and fill them with items that are not wrapped in plastic. Some ideas include fruits, homemade goodies, paper packets of wildflower seeds, coloring pencils, and notepads. Just leave the plastic out!
Ask for alternative presents
If you are expecting presents, ask your guest to bring homemade or second hand gifts. You can also ask for donations for your favorite charity or fun experiences such as a homemade giftcard to do something together. For wrapping you can ask guests to use scrap paper, newspaper, or fabric such as dish towels, pillow cases, scarfs, or some unused fabric that they have around the house.
Recycle and reuse everything you can
Make sure you clean up everything you brought with you if you’re organizing the party in a park or other public space. It’s a good idea to take all the recyclables with you and recycle glass bottles, aluminum cans, and paper when you get home. If you organize the party at your home, compost all food waste and bamboo dishes. And remember to save the party decorations for the next celebration!
Emilia Honkasaari is the founder of Plastikki, dedicated to reducing plastic waste. Read more of her suggestions at Plastikki.com