Just because you have decided to do your part to ensure that our planet remains livable for future generations doesn’t mean you have to give up everything that makes life worthwhile. It just means you have to change the way you approach every aspect of your life (and the wasteful consumer mentality that has been hammered into you since childhood). So if you’re starting to plan a birthday party for yourself or someone else, you might be contemplating all of the manufacturing and waste that comes with paper plates, cups, and napkins, as well as balloons, party favors, and of course, food. And you may start to become rather depressed by all of the aspects of birthday parties that are less than eco-friendly. But don’t cancel your party just yet; there are plenty of ways to green up the works.
1. Dining. Catering your party can not only be expensive, it can also go against your green ideals in a number of ways. But there are many solutions to get you back on track for your eco-friendly birthday party. For starters, you can think about hiring a company that uses local, organic foodstuffs, purchasing produce and meats from area farmers and ranchers that espouse eco-friendly standards and practices in their operations. This way you’ll know that you’re getting foods that are less damaging to the Earth and to you (no chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the produce and no antibiotics or hormones in the humanely treated meats). You could also select a vegan caterer, or even save some money and make your own organic feast.
2. Dessert. At a birthday party the dessert is even more important than the main dish because of the tradition of blowing out the candles on the cake. If you want to go green here, you could have the cake made by your organic or vegan caterer. Or you could make it yourself with all organic ingredients. Not the traditional type? Consider sculpting a chunk of organic watermelon into the shape of a cake and sticking a candle in it!
3. Decorations. This is where waste material can be rampant, so instead of purchasing paper everything (only to throw it all away), use permanent plates and cups (you could have them made by a local ceramics artist) that you can also utilize year-round. And for tablecloths, napkins, and your birthday banner, get crafty with the sewing machine and stitch your own reusable items with organic textiles. Skip the non-biodegradable balloons.
4. Games. While you could go old-school with games like pin the tail on the donkey or kick the can, you’ll likely find that kids will get bored and adults will eyeball you with incredulity if you make such a suggestion. Instead, consider pulling out a bunch of classic multi-player board games from your vault (Monopoly, Life, Checkers, etc.) to amuse and entertain your guests with nostalgia. Or get a game of charades going for the adult crowd. You won’t have to purchase any new products and you’ll no doubt find enjoyment in these throwbacks to your own childhood.
5. Entertainment. You may be used to hiring clowns, magicians, musicians, or other performers to keep guests entertained at your parties, but if you’re going to hire servers or caterers, why not conserve (on the gas needed for everyone to get to your home) by selecting a wait staff that also performs? Singing or dancing waiters will give you both food and entertainment, offering one-stop shopping and less pollution from transportation.
About the Author
Sarah Danielson writes for Noel Qualter a popular London magician that performs at parties, weddings, and corporate events.