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I threw my daughter a less wasteful, more eco-friendly birthday party — here's how I did it

We recently hosted a birthday party for my 7-year-old daughter — and as we planned the party, I was struck by the amount of waste we were about to create.

sustainable birthday party

Photo Credit: Getty Images

We recently hosted a birthday party for my 7-year-old daughter, and as we planned the party, I was struck by the crazy amount of waste that we were about to create. In a two-hour party, we'd undo all of the recycling, reducing, and composting that we'd been diligently working on for the last month. 

We're by no means perfect — we got balloons, we got party favors (albeit non-plastic ones), and we actually didn't compost because we don't have composting easily accessible in our area — but we did try to make some switches to throw a party we could feel good about. 

If you're looking to do the same, maybe some of our tips will help you. 

Here are some simple and easy tips to throw a sustainable birthday party you can feel good about, with less waste and less plastic


Ditch the plastic


Swap out plastic water bottles for cans and trade plastic cups for recyclable and/or reusable cups like these ones from Ball. Invest in some inexpensive reusable tableware, or try a thrift store for fun mix-and-match plates and cups that you can have on hand for parties! We actually skipped the plastic water bottles and opted for sparkling water in aluminum cans, and most kids brought their own refillable water bottles anyway. 



Getty Images

I've been to so many birthday parties, especially at parks or special event locations, where everyone seems to have forgotten about recycling for a few hours. It might be a bit of extra work, but pile up those pizza boxes and take them to the recycling bin, or offer separate recycling bins to help sort your trash. It's a great way to be a role model for kids and set an example for future parties. 


Compost if you can


Use compostable plates and cutlery if you have a place to compost. Composting sounds great, but if you use compostable plates and cutlery and then throw them in a plastic bag that goes to the landfill, the purpose has been defeated. If your community offers composting, check with them to verify that they will compost your plates and make sure you're collecting everything in a compostable bag


Level-up your party favors


If it's a kid's party, skip the party favors OR try edible treats or even non-plastic favors like a succulent that the kids can decorate, or these adorable mini stuffed animals that promote conservation. (For more ideas, check out our inspiration for non-plastic party favors.)


keep old decorations

Getty Images

Reuse! We keep a box full of fun, generic party supplies for holidays and birthdays and then break them out each year to avoid buying new party decorations every year. Granted, these are mostly plastic, but at least we're avoiding buying new every year by theme. This would also be a good thing to borrow from a friend or seek out on your local BuyNothing page or Facebook marketplace. 

What are your tips for having a sustainable birthday party? Let us know at hello@thecooldown.com. Have fun!

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