A couple of months ago, we celebrated Dylan's 3rd birthday: the first party we are hosting since we live in London! I have to be very honest: when I attend children's birthday parties or parties in general... I usually get a sweet and sour feeling. Why? Because I cannot stand seeing all the plastic plates, cutleries & glasses. And I even get more upset when I see a large trash bag hanging and EVERYTHING going in one bag without separating the recyclables.
I am by no means an environmental guru, I do make a lot of mistakes too. I just do my best to keep certain things in mind when hosting people at home. I am not sure if they are common sense or not, but I have decided to share with you some of the things I do.
So here's what I would say, my tips for a more environmentally conscious birthday party:
- Less is more
We all know how special these occasions are. But please, keep in mind, they are a once-off event. Everything you buy for this event... What happens to it after it's finished? How will your children feel, once they grow up, about all the waste generated in their birthday parties? I am not sure if I am a freak, but I do think this sort of stuff.
- Reduce or eliminate single-use items
This applies especially to cutleries, plates & cups.
Plates & cups: when I was pregnant, I purchased enough melamine plates and cups to serve 12-16 guests when we are hosting parties at home. Melamine is essentially plastic. But we have them now for 4 years and they are as good as new. We also use them regularly at home -not in the microwave though. This means that for every party we are having, we are avoiding single-use plates and cups.
They are a fantastic solution as they are child-friendly, dishwasher friendly, scratch-resistant, and you do not need to worry about them falling on the floor and breaking. The brand I bought is Jab Design:
We did get paper plates for the cake, as we didn't have enough melamine plates for main & dessert. At least these are biodegradable.
Cutleries: In this case, we ordered pizzas for our guests' main lunch, so cutleries were needed only for the cake. We simply used our home cutleries.
- Use stuff you have got:
Instead of purchasing a plastic table cloth, I pushed myself to find something already at home. I remembered about this beautiful crochet table cloth I bought in Bangladesh 8 years ago, and I had not used it a single time. I am sure you have got something like this at home waiting to be used?
- Purchase something you can reuse later
For example, the small table confetti made of timber sugar skulls: we use them right now to play. He turns them around and plays a memory game by matching pairs. I am thinking of making some sort of Halloween garland with them, something to reuse every year.
That lovely 'Happy Birthday' sign from Meri Meri is here to stay, I hope I can use it for many many years. It adapts to a lot of different styles and I don't think it's going to date.
- Colour palette is key:
I purposely didn't commit to a very specific colour palette, and I ended up with paper decorations in quite a few different colours. By doing this, I am sure that I will be able to reuse them in the future because I can mix the colours in different ways.
- Gifts for friends:
My mum kindly hand made some lovely masks as gifts for each of Dylan's friends. I thought this was a much nicer idea than giving a few useless plastic toys which end up in the bin 3 days later.
We basically traced the illustration in Meri Meri sugar skull plates range, and adapted it to our masks. Of course, this was a very time-consuming task, which I couldn't have done without her help.
In case you are wondering, his birthday party theme was inspired by 'Frida Khalo' book by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Gee Fan Eng. Dylan loves the cake with the skeletons there... he is also a lot into all things creepy and Halloween style.
The star of the party was definitely the beautiful cake, which I got custom made locally. I gave the bakers a picture of Frida Khalo's book page with the cake, and they did a pretty awesome job at creating their own.
I got two sugar skull cake toppers custom made on Etsy.
The good news is we can reuse them every year for Halloween.
I almost forgot... our organic cotton matching onesies, by the way, will be in stock at our website from early October 2019!!!