If you are planning to throw a party, think about doing it zero waste. Imagine all the trash you avoid and how freaking satisfying it will be! Plus it will look so much personal and fancypants than those parties covered with plastic cups.
Dinner parties, a birthday party, weddings, anniversaries, a themed party, holiday parties or child’s party, … You can all approach them with the zero waste mindset. Isn’t that just fabulous? Here are some tips to get you started!
I believe most people don’t send paper invitations anymore and switched over to the digital way, which is – muy bien – ! But with children’s parties it still happens quite often. So why not try to make a fun digital invitation and send it to the parents? If that is too difficult, you can craft some with old scraps of paper, ribbons, etc. It will make the invitations even more fun and personal.
Plan your menu in advance and think about seasonal products if you want to be extra ecofriendly. When you figure out way before the party what you will cook, you will have enough time to plan your zero waste shopping trip.
I’m gonna slip this one in *wink wink*, but if you opt for a plantbased menu, it will be much easier to shop zero waste. Focus on unpackaged veggies and fruits, buy things in glass jars, go to bulk stores, maybe you can even harvest veggies from your garden, and make fresh homemade food,… If you do want meat or cheese on your party, go to the butcher & cheese shop with your own containers. If they give you an annoyed glance, that’s their problem, just return their grumpy face with a quirky big smile! Always spread kindness and positivity, and mostly to those who seem to have lost theirs 😉 . You are doing a good thing and you are inspiring others around you.
Don’t make too much food, don’t overdo it. It not only spares you a lot of work & money, but people don’t tend to eat a lot on parties. Adults are often a bit ashamed to grab a lot of food (or let’s face it: more food than the other guests, haha). They tend to grab more some snacks and a lot of drinks. So focus on little bites and fluids. For kid parties, don’t even bother making plenty of food, the kids will be way too excited to have food on their minds. I mean, it is playtimeeee. You make your own zero waste and sugar free ice cream! Or just provide a big cake and some finger food. Speaking of finger food, it is also an awesome option for an adult party menu. Because you’ll need little cutlery & which will spare you a lot of dishes.
Don’t feel like cooking? Fancy a caterer? Just want to enjoy the party without making your kitchen dirty. It’s okay, no judgement! That is normal. Tell the caterer in advance that you will bring your own containers to transport the food. Also if other guests are bringing food, ask them to bring it in beautiful bowls or reusable containers.
First of all: please, pretty please, use normal plates, silverware and glasses. This is probably the most important thing for a zero waste party. If you don’t have enough plates and glasses for your guests, go thrifting! And don’t worry about mismatching items, it makes it all the more fun! If you are afraid that some of your beloved glasses would break, you can always go for stainless steel cups. Especially on a kids party. Reusing food jars as glasses is another great way. You can even close of the jars using the lids, so flies can’t take a bath in your delicious drink.
Consider washable napkins. You can make your own by cutting pieces of out old blankets and maybe even dyeing them with food (like beetroot).
Using normal glasses also make people stick more to one glass. If you have disposable cups, people tend to grab a new cup every time they want a new drink. If you add names to the glasses, they will be much more committed to that glass! Use a window marker to write names on the glass or tie labels to it with a string.
And an obvious one… No straws! If you do want straws go for reusable ones such as stainless steel or bamboo.
For drinks, make homemade drinks in bulk. Put them in glass bottles, big bowls or glass drink dispensers. This way you won’t have to buy plenty of pre-bottled drinks and people can refill their glass whenever they like.
Here we are, the most exciting part! The party decorations. No better feeling than creating a cosy or fun environment that just screamssss JOY!
Rule number one: no balloons. And especially not releasing them in the air, they finally end up in nature or in the ocean. A lot of sea animals end up with balloons in their stomach or get tangled in the string. Also they are not reusable and can damage your health. No balloons also means no heart attacks when one pops out of nowhere. It is a win win situation, my friend. Believe me, there are funner ways to spice up your party. Alternatives are blowing bubbles or DIY’s such as garlands, big handmade letters and confetti.
Go thrifting! In secondhand shops you can find loads of funky objects to decorate your party with. You can reuse them at each party, donate/gift them afterwards or even decorate your house with your new finds. You never know 😉
And my favorite! Use what mother nature provides. Aaaah our beautiful planet. Find branches, flowers, twigs, moss, herbs and beautiful stones to decorate the party with. Collect fallen leaves and perforate them to make zero waste confetti ! Or use the leaves to make garlands. You can hang up strings and clip flowers, photos or other fun things to them. Look for cobblestones and paint them, you can also use them as name tags for table seating.
Make your own garlands with old paper scraps, newspapers, shapes cut out of orange peels, craft letters or use old textile to make flags. Let your creativity go crazy!
An other important one is mood lightning. Oh, do I love creating some atmosphere. This is probably only relevant for evening parties. Reuse glass jars to put candles in or pierce holes in cans. They will create such a fun shadow spectacle. Stringlights are always the way to go, but if you have to buy one, make sure it is good quality, so that it can go a long way.
If you are throwing a dress up party, keep the theme openminded and ask people to dress up with clothes they already own or secondhand clothing. You can also provide a box at the party with fun thrifted clothing and accessories.
Find great party decoration ideas and DIY’s on Pinterest.
How often do you get gifts that you don’t really need or like? Pretty often, right? Besides, they come wrapped in so much paper/plastic. We love giving and receiving gifts, which is very normal, but do we always need more/new things? I don’t think we do.
An option is asking specifically for no gifts. That is the best way to go zero waste.
But of course, I too love giving and receiving gifts. So think beyond buying new ones. Ask for something fun or something you need, but secondhand. Or ask for experiences, like tickets for event/attraction park/…, trips or even a workshop. Creating memories is much more valuable than stuff. Or make a homemade gift? Doing such an effort will make a person already happy.
Gift giving is one I personally still have to work on.
Wrapping gifts also brings a lot of paper waste. You often put a lot of effort in wrapping a gift nicely, then you give the gift and it gets ripped off in like a second. All that paper and ribbons end up in the bin. Pretty sad & useless, no? There are other ways! Such as the Furoshiki method. Here you use textile to wrap your gift in. You can reuse the same piece of textile for so many times. Except if the person wants to keep it, haha. Other ways to wrap a gift is reusing old paper. Such as news papers, old wrapping paper, maps, etc. I can assure you, it will make your gift look pretty nifty.
Gift bags / Gifts for guests
If you want to give gifts to your guests or make loot bags for the children at a kids party, please fill it with homemade/secondhand gifts. Such as cookies, treats, bath salts, leftovers, artwork, secondhand books,… Don’t fill it with plastic wrapped candy and cheap toys (that let’s face it, which breaks after a day). Kids are often super excited by these gift bags but their excitement doesn’t last that long.
I hope these tips will inspire you to throw your next party in a zero waste style! Have fun! A little extra tip: live every day as little party 🙂