These low-waste party tips will keep the good times going, without as much garbage.
I’m a big believer in celebrating. And with these low-waste party tips, it’s easy, cheap and environmentally-conscious to party! What’s there not to like?!
5 Low-Waste Party Tips
1. Skip the balloons – instead, buy a banner
Balloons may add ambiance to a room, but they also wreak havoc on wildlife. The most common culprit is helium balloons and mass balloon releases. Slowly, many municipalities are banning helium balloon releases altogether, given that it is just littering after all.
According to wildlife non-profit Balloons Blow, “The Balloon Council, and other balloon industry entities, spend millions of dollars lobbying to keep balloon releases legal.”
Even though the most harmful balloons are indeed helium ones, I choose to not support the balloon industry at all, and I encourage you to do the same.
Instead of balloons, buy a banner!
- a banner dresses up an entire room
- it lives on forever, and can be used for every event
- if you have a banner on hand, you’re ~always~ ready to party
My banner cost less then $2, and I’ve used it for every birthday, job promotion and anniversary in the past few years. I even always take it traveling with me in case it’s someone has a birthday, or something celebration-worthy happens. It’s small, lightweight and durable.
That’s waaaaay more than you can say about balloons!
Frugal party tip: real champagne is expensive, but for a couple bucks you can buy sparkling white wine, which can pass as champagne and add to the party ambiance. Pull out the banner and champagne (wink, wink) for an impromptu party that anyone can afford.
2. Minimize food packaging by making things from scratch
Hummus, crackers, salsa, tortillas, pasta, bread, cake icing – these are just a few delicious party staples that can be easily made from scratch.
Making food yourself instead of buying things in the store will save a lot of waste and money. And the homemade versions of commonly store-bought foods are usually worlds better than the processed stuff.
Trust me, once you eat homemade tortillas, your life will never be the same!
3. Look no further than your backyard for low-waste party confetti
Add some color to tables, cards or gift bags with fun leaf confetti. All you need is a hole puncher, and Mother Nature brings the rest.
This is a great activity to get kids involved in party preparation and encourage environmentally-conscious thinking. Send kids outside in search of leaves and plants to use for making confetti.
4. Serve plant-based foods
Avoiding dairy and meat is the “single biggest way” to reduce your impact on the Earth. Try serving up some snack-worthy plant-based snacks instead:
- hummus and veggies
- salsa and tortilla chips
- sweat and spicy mushroom “meatballs”
- seasoned nuts
In my experience, no one even notices the absence of meat from the trays.
5. Embellish gifts or party favors with natural or recycled materials
Pinterest is chock-full of unique techniques for wrapping gifts. I like to air on the side simplicity, and use the same few materials to tackle every problem.
My secret weapons:
- Recycled paper
- Washi tape
Using raffia to solve your low-waste party problems
Raffia is dried leaves from a raffia palm tree. It’s often used in making baskets and in floral decorations. It’s simple and adds a great Earthy aesthetic to gifts when used in place of ribbon.
- in place of plastic ribbon, to add some pizzazz to gifts
- to fill gift bags or boxes in place of tissue paper
- to line an Easter basket in place of plastic grass
In line with keeping things simple, I sometimes forgo paper altogether and just neatly decorate with raffia.
If you choose to use wrapping paper, see what’s around you that can be recycled. I wrapped the gift below with a paper shopping bag, and tied it together with raffia.
In addition to not needing wrapping paper, this voided the need for tape! The typical clear tape that most people use to wrap gifts is plastic, so it’s best to avoid using tape or use tape made from natural materials instead. But, good news: paper tape is way more fun than plastic tape anyway!
I bought my raffia directly from a local florist, but you can also purchase online.
Adding some personality with Washi Tape
If a gift does require tape, a few rolls of Washi tape could work wonders for your low-waste party.
As I researched Washi Tape for this blog post, I found a different answers as to what it’s made from. Some Washi Tape is made from hemp or bamboo, other sources say their Washi Tape is made from rice paper.
Whatever it is, it’s not plastic and seems to be primarily natural fibers, which is a step in the right direction.
Washi Tape adds personality where normal tape is purely functional, and removes plastic from your gift packaging. A win-win!
I hope these low-waste party tips help you have a greener event, no matter what the celebration! What steps do you take to reduce your waste at a party?