#WasteNothing Kids Party

Children laughing at a party

How to host a low waste children’s party

Children’s parties are filled with fun and excitement, but as anyone who’s hosted one knows, disposable tableware, novelty toys and single-use decorations will soon be swept up into one big pile destined for the bin.

The good news is, with just a little planning and preparation, you can cut down on waste without losing the party atmosphere.

Hire a reusable party kit

The Party Kit Network provide an alternative to single-use plastic and paper crockery. Their party kits provide reusable kits with plates, cups, bowls and cutlery which can be hired for a party and returned.

Many kits also come with decorations and games. Find your nearest kit for details of what is available and how to hire it.

If a group of children in one class have birthdays around the same time, you could even create a party kit yourself to share between parents and caregivers.

Think outside the decoration box

Decorations are great for creating a party vibe, but they are also a big source of plastic and single-use items.  Try these ideas for decorating a party without creating unnecessary waste.

Paper fish party decorations

Borrow reusable decorations

  • Try the Party Kit Network to see if there is a kit near you which includes decorations.
  • Ask family and friends if they have any reusable decorations you can borrow.

Reuse or recycle decorations

If you buy new decorations, think about buying either reusable or recyclable items.

  • Recyclable

Avoid plastic items which can’t be recycled, like balloons. Instead, opt for decorations which can be recycled once you have finished with them.

  • Reusable

Invest in party items you can use year after year such as nice lights, fabric bunting, and other decorations that will withstand multiple uses. It can also save you money when you consider cost-per-use compared to disposable decorations.

Make your own decorations

Making your own decorations is a great way to get children involved and build the excitement.

Look for materials things around the house; old magazines and newspapers, scrap fabric, even tinfoil and sweet wrappers can be used as craft materials. Alternatively, visit the Children’s Scrapstore to collect scrap to transform into decorations.

Try to use materials that would have otherwise gone to waste, and that can be recycled after the party. Or, if you’re investing time to make them yourself, make them reusable so you can show them off again next time! One idea is to make decorations that can be added to year after year, becoming more special with each use.

Here are some ideas of what you can make.

Plan your party food

How you plan your party food can have a big impact on how much is leftover at the end of the day.

Kids party food

Cut down on the packaging

A good place to start is minimising the packing that food comes in by buying in bulk, taking your own containers to the shop, or, if you have time, making food from scratch.

  • Bulk-buying

Rather than having individual cartons, packets or bottles of things like juice and snacks, buy large bags or bottles that can be decanted into bowls or diluted in jugs. You will still have some packaging, but the amount will be reduced.

  • Buy packaging free

If your goal is to eliminate all packaging, pick up your party snacks from a zero waste shop. Most stock things like nuts, dried fruit and popcorn kernels and many have things like chocolate and other sweats. Just find your nearest shop and take your containers with you!

You can also take your own containers to more and more shops that have with bakery, cheese and deli counters, making it easy for you to stock up on sandwich fillers and other snacks for the party table.

Plan your portions

To really minimise leftovers, you could even work out how much food to serve with Love Food Hate Waste’s portion planner. You can use the planner to choose food options that can be kept as leftovers for another meal or given out in party bags.

Recycle your food waste

If you can’t reduce or reuse the party food, you can always recycle it. Put leftover food which you can’t eat in your food waste caddy. Recycling your food waste is great for the city and our planet. Find out more here.

Get arty with party bags

Party bags are a highlight at the end of the party, but the contents are often flimsy, novelty items that end up in the bin. There are lots of options to help you make the bags more sustainable.

Paper party bags

Ditch the plastic

Rather than the traditional plastic bag, hand out treats in a paper bag which can be reused or recycled. Feeling creative? You could try making the bags out of old newspapers or magazines. If you have sewing skills why not sew bags from scraps of fabric?

Think about how you fill it

Try plastic-free alternatives for party bag goodies:

  • Colouring pads and pencils
  • Seeds/plant your own kits
  • Wooden toys
  • Books

Find more ideas for alternative party bag fillers here.

Make it a doggy bag

How about using the party food leftovers as treats to take home? You could also add extra sweets or create mini baking kits so children have an activity to take away.

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