Throwing an Earth Friendly Birthday Bash. A Few Simple Tips.


April is here, which means it’s Earth Month! Earth Month is the unofficial extension of Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22.

For us, this time of year also means back-to-back birthdays. Since our little one turns three soon, I’m currently in kiddy party-planning mode. Thanks to the pandemic (and my laziness) our littlest has yet to experience a “real” party of his own. While we don’t plan on going big, he’s now keenly aware of his approaching birthday, so we’re going small-to-medium.

With Earth Month and birthday season on the mind, I’m on the hunt for ways to create an eco-friendlier celebration. Hopefully, the following adjustments will help us throw a sustainable shindig without cutting out on any fun.

First Things First: Invitations

Naturally, birthday parties begin with birthday invitations. Instead of cards and envelopes that often end up in the wastebasket, opt for a digital invite. Countless websites offer budget-friendly (sometimes free!) customizable options, making it easy to track responses and send reminders.

Even simpler? A text! One of the most memorable invites we received recently was a short video that included the birthday child inviting friends to celebrate. My kids re-watched it several times with excitement.

Next Up: Decorations

Confession. I love balloons. Love them. But after a heart-to-heart discussion with myself, I finally said goodbye (sigh). Unfortunately, their transient, non-biodegradable, single-use nature makes them very environmentally unfriendly. Balloons that are released into the horizon often end up in the sea, contributing to coastal debris, while harming wildlife in the meantime. Those not sky-bound usually end up in landfills. So, bye-bye balloons. It’s been real.

Their replacement? Reusable decorations made of natural materials. With kids involved, we’ve made DIY cloth banners, ring garlands and an uncomplicated DIY pinata. If DIY isn’t your thing, there’re loads of sustainable décor options online. Admittedly, there were a few non-biodegradable, theme-specific decorations I couldn’t resist, so those will be gifted to a friend for future use.

Planet-Conscious Party Eats

Next up, eco-conscious dining! This is by far the most challenging aspect of hosting a sustainable celebration for most. Including us. The waste that accumulates through excess food, single-use plates, plastic cups and cutlery are all big offenders.

Three words. Reusable is best. I know. You’re thinking, “thanks for stating the obvious.” But it’s true. We invested in a set of reusable melamine plates that we’ll use for kid parties moving forward. Although they’re plastic, we need something child proof, so they’re a reasonable choice. For a budget-friendly eclectic look, consider looking for reusable items at your local thrift shop.

If reusable isn’t an option, avoid foam and plastic as much as possible. They’re generally harder to recycle. Products made from sugarcane or bamboo pulp are better alternatives.

In terms of the food itself, think finger foods. This helps limit the need for excessive dinnerware and cutlery to begin with and cuts down on clean-up.

Party Favors

Last but not least, party favors. Before our last birthday bash, I considered forgoing favors altogether. However, my four-year-old called me a curmudgeon at the mention of it (his exact words were “grumpy idea, mommy”).

So, here we are. This birthday, we’re integrating a create-and-take art project into party time (two birds, one stone!). In the past, we’ve opted for homemade treats and books. My favorite to date was seed packets which encouraged a planet-friendly activity for home.

I know my family is far from reaching any sort of zero-waste goal. But it’s important to remember that every little bit counts. Do you have a favorite planet-friendly party hack? If so, please share!

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Paras is an Iranian American, born in Tehran and raised in Texas. She is now pleased to call Colorado home. She is the mother of two rambunctious boys, a wife to an equally rambunctious husband (genetics!) and a pediatrician. Paras attended medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and went on to complete her pediatric residency training at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. Her special interests include childhood advocacy, healthcare education, and she absolutely loves working with new parents. After having children of her own, she quickly realized that raising kiddos was not as straightforward as many pediatric medical texts or parenting books might imply! She has found it extremely fulfilling to navigate the challenging, yet rewarding world of being a working mom alongside her patients and peers. In her spare time, Paras enjoys hiking, embroidery and is an aspiring yogi on the journey to attaining and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.