Kid’s birthdays can be a challenge, especially if you decide to organize a party and invite the neighborhood masses as well as your nearest and dearest relatives. Not only can it cost a few more dollars than you want to spend, it has the potential for producing a lot of mess and waste. From leftover food to paper plates, balloons and wrapping paper, you’ll be lucky to get away with only a few bags of garbage after the big day.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay green and cut down on the amount of waste you produce from your next birthday celebration. Here are just a few of our top tips:
1. You Don’t Have to be Traditional
Rather than sugary drinks and lots of cake, you could opt to try something more adventurous and less traditional for your kid’s green birthday party. Think back to your own childhood and you may be able to come up with quite a few low cost, much greener activities such as arranging a treasure trail or wildlife journey into some nearby woods.
According to US News:
If you don’t have a big enough house or backyard for hosting a handful of kids, then consider low-cost options like a local park or YMCA. “A local park always seems to come with picnic tables and a grilling area, which is a really great option to be outside with a large group,” says Audrey McClelland, a Rhode Island mom of four sons.
2. Invites for Your Green Birthday Party
Sometimes organizing a kid’s party can seem like trying to put on a banquet, and there are so many people to invite it quickly becomes a drain on your hard earned dollars. Swapping invitation cards for emails and social media invites can save you a good deal of money in the first place and make it easier for people to reply as well.
3. Cut Down on the Kids
Do you really need to invite everyone? The trend for kid’s parties recently has been to have big affairs with lots of local kids thrown into the mix. Apparently you are no one if you don’t have at least half the neighborhood round your house for a lavish get-together. how else are you going to prove to your child that you love them so much? The truth is, if you cut down on the invitees then you slash the costs and make waste less of a problem.
4. Use Real Tableware
One of big areas of waste is all those paper plates and cups for the food and drink. This is another area of parties that seems to have developed a life of its own but there’s no reason why you can’t use proper cutlery, plates, bowls and cups and ask your neighbors to bring there’s if you think you need more.
5. Say Goodbye to the Goody Bags
Another thing that tends to produce huge amounts of waste are goody bags for the kids. It might seem mean but getting rid of these can make a big difference to the amount you spend and the health of the children who are coming to enjoy themselves. Most of the toys included in goody bags tend to get broken within the first five minutes and they you have to spend hours picking them up and finding a way to recycle them.
6. Party Hats, Balloons and Wrapping Paper
There are plenty of options for all those added extras that traditionally go with a kid’s party. Instead of providing these, why not theme your party and get the children to come in fancy dress and ask them not to wrap up presents but hide them in the garden?
7. Switch to Pitchers
If you lined up all the cans and bottles of high sugar drinks that kid’s consume at your average party across the whole of the United States in any given year then you may well find it stretching all the way to the moon. Healthier drinks served in proper pitchers will not only stop the kids getting that dangerous sugar high but also cut down on the number of cans and bottles you are forced to recycle.
The amount of sugary and harmful drinks that kids consume nowadays is on the increase according to Harvard University:
Children and youth in the US averaged 224 calories per day from sugary beverages in 1999 to 2004—nearly 11% of their daily calorie intake. From 1989 to 2008, calories from sugary beverages increased by 60% in children ages 6 to 11, from 130 to 209 calories per day, and the percentage of children consuming them rose from 79% to 91%.
8. Change Gifts to Activities
Here’s one way to cut down the impact your kid’s party has on the planet: Why not get rid of gifts altogether? Your kid will no doubt end up with more presents than they can possibly hope to use so it makes sense to limit what they get. This is a great time to get together with other parents and develop some house rules if you are all going to have your own green birthday party.
If they have to get something, why not make it useful like adopting wildlife or sending money to a good cause on the birthday boy or girl’s behalf. Okay, so it may not be that popular with the kids but you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a huge sigh of relief from the parents.
There are plenty of ways that help not only reduce the cost of your next big kid’s party but also help save the planet. If you produce less waste and buy less toys then that’s a small reduction in world CO2 levels and if you add all those together across the US and across the world, that makes a big difference.
Let’s face it, as long as kids have got plenty to keep them occupied and you’re all having a fun day, no one is going to notice you’re running a green birthday party anyway.