7 tips for a sustainable party

7 Tips for a Sustainable Party

You’re over the senseless single-use tableware and decorations parties and want to know how to keep things easy? I was too. Here’s a cheat sheet of how to make a sustainable party. 

Disposable vs. Eco friendly vs. reusable

Disposable partyware: Usually we need to visit various shops, single use waste, filling up rubbish bins, adding to landfill. 

Paper partyware: More than 10% food on paper plates means they can not be recycled. 

Compostable partyware: How much of that will you actually put in your compost bin? When sent to landfill, compostable products don’t have very long to break down before being sealed off for the next landfill pit.

So that leaves reusable, like generations before us used to do. 

But how? Well, there’s using what you’ve got, buying and then selling on, or hiring. 

For children’s parties, looking in our child’s play space will often give us some great party decorations as will op shops. Some items can even be painted if they’re not in your theme colour. 

If you’re after the quick and easy option, hire! Book, pick up, use, maybe some rinsing and return.

Plan a Zero Waste menu

Barbecues and picnics can actually help avoid a lot of waste. Also, finger foods usually mean less food wrapping e.g. sausage sizzle, fruit, sandwiches, baking, jug drink, veggies etc. 

Cupcakes. Great as a pre-cut cake. Silicone cupcake cases can be used for cupcakes, muffins, nuts, popcorn, lollies, jelly etc.

Ease the stress of food prep by asking for potluck. People are more likely to make something to share which reduces the amount of packet waste.

Fill large drinking containers with homemade drinks or large bottles to pour into glasses. Soda stream can be a great option for creating soda in reusable bottles. Use different shaped glasses to add fun and help guests recognize their own cup (so they don’t grab a new cup when they can’t find theirs. Jars can make great cups too.

Rethink decorations

Around the house: household ornaments, vases, jars, placemats, a xmas tree, bunting/garland, colourful sheets as backdrops, tablecloths, second hand duvets and blankets can make great picnic blankets, especially when coupled with cushions and baskets. Ribbons, recycled paper pom poms and garlands. There are hire options for decorations and furniture. 

The Playroom: Toy animals, dress up clothes, outdoor games, second hand tutus cut open and then placed at the front of a table can make a great garland

Nature: Fresh flowers (you can donate these on after), leaf confetti (use a hole punch), flowers instead of cake toppers, pine cones, weaving. Flowers can make beautiful birthday crowns

Food: Fresh fruits can make a colourful and delicious decoration.

Op Shops: Cloth napkins, tablecloths, decorations, tableware

Hiring decorations and furniture can be an excellent option. The Party Godmother is specifically about making easy hire options for children’s parties and reducing waste.

Replace traditional paper invites

You could use recycled paper and materials to make your own invites OR, I find it much more practical to use Facebook to invite friends and families. I can see who is able to attend, offer suggestions of what my child is into or might like (a total game changer to reducing waste) and if there are any last minute changes to the plans or if people can’t attend on the day, Boom, we’ve got a direct line of communication. 

If you do want to send invites, seed paper might be an exciting alternative. Read, plant, grow!


Everyone has their personal preference so you do you.

  • Saying what your child is into. My guests are always thankful for this one. 
  • The option to offer secondhand presents… I have some great hand-me-down toys that have been tried and tested already and are still favourites.
  • The option to bring food instead of a present. Sick of the clutter? Do they really need more?
  • Experience gift cards are an awesome low waste option that is about creating memories!

Thank you gift

Being raised in the ‘80’s, it was a given that every party there would be a loot/party bag to take home. Nowadays there’s not so much pressure to offer one and really, you’ve just thrown a great party, probably with food and entertainment so is a thank you gift needed? 

If you did want to offer a gift here’s some ideas you could pop in a reusable party bag:

Waste management

Have a: 

Rubbish/food waste bucket – most of your food waste probably won’t be able to be composted.

Recycling bin

Dishes basin/tub

For easy tidy up – have a basket for linens if you are using reusable napkins.

Reusable containers – great for taking the leftovers home in. 

And in reality…

Any effort you make, be it a waste-less party or just a recycling bin, your guests will appreciate the effort. It has to be manageable for you and next time the effort will get even easier. 

For more tips head to our Facebook or Instagram pages

sustainable party tips the party godmother
The Mermaid Dream Party Hire kit from The Party Godmother

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