Last Sunday was my daughter’s birthday. She had some of her friends over for a small party and we all had a nice time. I love birthday parties for kids. They often don’t have a lot of expectations and have fun doing just about anything. Everyone enjoys but there is also a huge eco-unfriendly effect- wrapping papers, disposable plates and cups, paper tablecloths, birthday cards, balloons, favors and other items add up to several bags of garbage. This year I tried to make it a little greener. Even though I couldn’t manage to make every aspect of the celebration earth-friendly, the small changes I had, made the world more healthier place. A better planet to live, is the best birthday gift we can give to our children. Good thing about my green efforts is that my daughter also understands what eco-friendly is and tries to make her contributions towards green living now.
To make a party fun, health promoting, and waste free is my goal and I’d like to share a few of my personal favorite Green Birthday Party Ideas for all ages. These are not restricted to only kids party but any party be it housewarming, baby shower or anniversary.
Party Venue:Though rare now a days but if possible have an open air party. It can be the small garden in the house/apartment complex or an open terrace. This requires lesser light and cooling hence less energy used. If it’s a night party there can be solar lanterns around the place. Also some natural mosquito repellent (marigold flowers, citronella, lemon grass) placed at strategic locations will solve this major hurdle in having an open air party. If possible keeping party small is another good move. Guests get more personal attention.
Party Invites: Email invitations are the style now. It saves lot of paper and though I like the paper invitation cards I support e-invites. If the choice is for paper invites I would suggest using handmade recycled paper and involving kids to decorate and paint them with non-toxic colors. This whole activity can keep them busy for some time and also encourage the artist in them to put their imagination on paper.
Decorations:Decorations for a kid’s party are different than other parties. There is lots of paper and plastic and it cannot be avoided. Best is to invest in good reusable decorations. Like streamers and birthday banners can be used for many times. Balloons are a must for kids birthday party. Balloons used are of two types generally latex and mylar. Latex balloons are easily identified by their elastic character and are composed of natural rubber sap and small amounts of non-toxic coagulants and pigments. They are 100% bio-degradable.
Mylar balloons are made with mylar nylon are not classified bio-degradable. Many companies are now manufacturing and marketing biodegradable latex balloons in India.Other decorations could be the fancy paper lampshades which are similar to Chinese lanterns, fresh flowers (my favourite), beautiful candles. These can be decoration items for other parties too.
Tableware: Disposable plates and cups are maybe one of the greatest inventions of the century as it has made life easier for women but its worst part of a party for environment. The plastic waste it generates and the entire process of making them involves lots of chemical pollutants as well as increased carbon footprints. . So what can an environmentally conscious hostess do? Is using normal reusable tableware and later washing them either by hand or a dishwasher a totally green process? I would say not fully. Washing dishes consume lot of water and electricity. Best solution would be to use natural disposable plates and cups made out of dried leaves like areca leaf plates and bamboo cutlery. Areca Leaf Plate and cups are made of Areca nut Palm Leaf which is fallen naturally from Areca nut (Betel) tree thus no trees are cut or harmed in the process.
These plates are purely natural and having no other artificial additives or chemical ingredients. It’s Natural, Eco Friendly, Bio-degradable, Disposable, Hygienic and Heat resistant to serve food. It can be used in Homes, Hotels, Restaurants, Fast Food Shop, Parties, Functions, Picnics, Outdoor Catering and many other applications where the plates used as “Use ‘n’ Throw”. Check out these options The Magnus , Evergreen Eco Concepts, Bio World etc.
Party Food: The food for kids party depends on their choice and there is not much we can do. All the kids love junk food for the party. Chips and crackers are a must with lots of other fried and processed food. These foods are bad for them as well as bad for environment since they involve more carbon foot prints for the entire process and transportation. Also they produce lots of packaging material. Minimize the use of such products by having fresh homemade fries and pizzas. Modern cutting and chopping tools have made making them very easy. We can try to reduce harm by having homemade chips or French fries, homemade pizzas and ice-creams. Anything which is easy and don’t include packaged stuff. In this way we can reduce the plastic waste as well as consume preservative free food. I always have a platter of non-messy fruits like juicy grapes or chilled watermelon scoops along with all the fried food. Fruit Juice is also a must at all parties but it’s difficult to get fresh ones made at that time if we don’t have juicers. Opt for bottled one instead of tetra packs. Bottles can be used later. Also have nuts and other dried fruits along with other foods.
Party Games:Some of the best-loved party games require little or no materials. Hopscotch, musical chairs, capture the flag and charades, for example, require minimal supplies and have engaged party goers for generations. Outdoor parties can have water relays, lemon race and treasure hunt.
Party Favours:We never got any return gifts when we were small but now a days it has become a norm at kids parties. Instead of putting chocolates and balloons and other cheap plastic toys in plastic bags opt for nontoxic colors and clays, small wooden toys or homemade chocolates. Small books made with recycled paper, some semi-precious stone jewelry, DIY stitching kits are some gift ideas for teenagers. These can be put into small recycled paper bag or reusable gift bag.
Encourage kid’s friends to bring similar green gifts. For adults I have already posted about ecofriendly gift options.
Birthday’s don’t have to be synonymous with waste, candy, and junk food? The tricky part is helping our children’s generation see that fun can be without being wasteful & unhealthy. It will take many parents throwing Eco- Friendly Parties to demonstrate this cause. Start planning from today!!!!!