As you guys know, I’ve been trying to make changes in our household in terms of being more sustainable.
One thing I have noticed is how much single use plastics there are at birthday parties and other events.
Those amazing balloon garlands-where does that all end up once the party is finished?
The plastic plates, cutlery, utensils, the tablecloths and other decorations-they all end up in the rubbish once the day is over…
We reuse our Christmas decorations every year, so why don’t we do the same with party decorations?
I tried to make a conscious effort with Dottie’s party to avoid as many single use plastics as possible. We still had some plastic utensils which were left over from Eadies 1st Birthday, so I did reuse those. But everything else that I purchased for the day was much more eco-friendly.
Below are a couple tips for some simple ways to make a birthday party a little bit more environmentally friendly, and also some details on how we set up the day and what foods we supplied and costs.
I didn’t even get invites made for Dottie’s Birthday. Its so easy to create a Facebook event or send out a text message inviting people around. It also saves money on getting invites created and then posting them out.
Lets be honest, those plastic table cloths are horrible and look tacky as anyway!
For Dotties Birthday I just put some sheets from inside on the tables, one white and one pink and they looked super cute!
Easy to rip off, throw in the wash and use again another time!
You can buy plastic platters for next to nothing at the $2 shop. Its so tempting to be able to throw everything away at the end of an event and not have to worry about dishes. But honestly it wasn’t even that bad doing the dishes (I had A LOT of platters used, and remember I don’t own a dishwasher either!)
There’s usually a grandparent or relative who loves jumping in and helping with the clean up anyway-so if anyone asks, put them on dishes duty!
BAMBOO/PAPER PLATES & UTENSILS
Unfortunately when I ventured to my local Kmart, they were sold out of their bamboo plates and bowls! So I opted for paper plates rather then plastics, and found a set of small bamboo side plates.
Most stores stock bamboo products now-even your local $2 shop. They aren’t much more expensive either depending where you get them from.
Bamboo is one of the best materials for disposable plates, they are 100% biodegradable, and take 4-6 months to decompose. So even if they aren’t being composted, they wont be filling up landfills either.
Paper plates obviously decompose faster then plastic plates-but they aren’t entirely good for the environment due to the large scale production and destruction of forests. Along with them being bleached and filled with chemicals. A better option is to use Kraft paper plates which are made from 100% recycled materials and obviously aren’t bleached.
There are also other options like Bagasse, or Palm Leaf products too.
WATER STATION, LARGE BOTTLES OF DRINKS & NAMING CUPS
To reduce the amount of plastic water bottles at the party, I decided to create a water station using a glass water dispenser-that I actually found at the Op Shop for $3! I also opted for Kraft paper cups over plastic, and left a marker next to them so that people could name their cups and use again. Rather then just throwing out after each use or putting them down and losing them. Instead of buying a heap of small soft drinks, I purchased large bottles so there was less wastage-this was also a lot cheaper too.
I actually stole this book idea as a party favour from a friends daughters 1st birthday a few months beforehand. Usually at the end of a kids party, they’ll get a little plastic bag filled with cheap plastic toys that are going to break or be lost within 2 days, a balloon, and some more lollies (exactly what you want after they’ve been at an event eating nothing but sugar for the last few hours, hey?)
So I went to Kmart and got a heap of their $2 children’s books (Big W also have a similar range) I printed off a sweet message saying ‘Thank you for helping us celebrate Dottie’s 1st Birthday’ with the date and stuck in into the front of each book. At least this is something children can keep for a long time and each time they read it can remember where the book come from. I thought it was a very sweet gesture, it was cost effective (I reckon it would have been cheaper then making up a heap of party bags tbh!) and easy enough to do!
DIY PARTY MILESTONE BOARD
I made my own Milestone Board for Eadie’s 1st Birthday, so was determined to do it again for Dottie. It was so easy to do-I made it on my phone using the app Canva! I didn’t have a template, I just googled some designs to get a rough idea then made it from scratch how I wanted. I then printed it at Kmart and framed it-a perfect little keepsake for our girl and I think its even more special that I made it myself. I was also able to use the design to make other things for the party such as the notes in the books and some signs-saves spending money on buying a party theme package!
REUSABLE PARTY DECORATIONS
I am still using the same decorations that I did for Eadie’s baby shower, 3 years ago!
I made all the glass containers myself from old pasta sauce jars etc. and hot glued some string onto them.
I also just used some house decor from around mine and my Mums house to decorate the tables and some material buntings. I also had some paper photo buntings I used at Eadie’s 1st Birthday which I just reused again for Dottie. I also used Dottie’s wooden name plaque from her bedroom and a wooden Happy Birthday sign I got from someone PIFing it on Facebook. Another option is borrowing props from friends. I’ve borrowed platters, mini chalk boards and drink dispensers from friends before for events. Most likely they’re just sitting in their storage so always ask if you know someone has something!
I didn’t get many photos of the day because its busy business hosting-but basically what you can see is all there was.
No balloon garlands, no streamers or number one foil balloons-just simple, plain and natural decor. Her party was nothing fancy or to boast about. But I think it looked quite sweet, was budget friendly and wasn’t stressful for me!
When I put a Question Box up-you all wanted to know about the cost of the party, the platters/grazing table and the cookies-so I thought I’d touch on all of it below.
Yes, I did the platter all by myself (well, a couple friends helped to throw it all together on the table) but that was literally all we did. I tried to use foods that I could make a day or two in advanced so I wasn’t rushing and stressed on the actual day. I made some coconut ice, rumballs and the cookies a day or two before the party and kept in the fridge in airtight containers.
I also cut up things like carrot sticks, kabana and cheese cubes the night before and kept in containers. My lovely elderly neighbours dropped around a heap of beautiful cupcakes the morning of Dottie’s party which we added to the table too. The rest was all store bought. Having lots of kids coming, I bought a heap of cheap lollies, wafer sticks (dipped in chocolate and sprinkles of course!) coloured popcorn, fruit etc. to fill the table and make look inviting/fun!
Then just cheeses, dips, biscuits etc. which were all home brand from Coles. We then just threw it all out onto plates and platters right before guests started to arrive.
Again, nothing fancy! Lets be honest, most people are just happy with free food!
It was under $100 for all the ingredients for baking and foods for the platter.
For Eadie’s 1st Birthday we just did simple sausages in bread and salads. But Daniel spent the whole time cooking the sausages. So this time I decided to get some pre-cooked roast chickens from Woolies, bread rolls and some salads. I had some family members bring some salads along and then I just made a cold mexican rice salad and pasta salad myself-which again I was able to do the day before.
We picked up the chickens a couple hours before party and kept them warm in the oven-then just threw them out onto the table with the rolls and salads.
It cost about $100 again for the roast chickens (which we had SO much left over), the rolls and a couple large coleslaw salads I bought at Woolies.
I made the cookies myself-you can find another blog post on my recipe here.
They are super easy to do! I purchased the name stamp from Kutter & Ko which was $15-and made a really nice, professional looking touch to the cookies. I decided to just go with her name rather then something like ‘Dottie is One’ because I can use it again and again.
We also used a cookie as a cake topper too because I didn’t realize my cake topper from Eadie’s Birthday got damaged.
Going on with the cake-I did have someone making Dottie a birthday cake, but she had a family emergency at the last minute and wasn’t able to make it anymore. I was just going to buy one from a store but my lovely friend offered to make a Woolies Cakehack for us. A couple mud cakes, some icing and some flowers and I think she did an amazing job! And it tasted bloody amazing! You can never go wrong with a supermarket mud cake really?
Hopefully by reading these I have made you become aware of some small changes you can make to ensure your next party is a little bit more environmentally friendly.
Or ways to save some money when hosting a party and making it a little less stressful.
Thanks for reading!