How to Host a Zero Waste Kids Birthday Party [8 Simple Tips]

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Are you looking for some simple tips to host a zero waste kids birthday party?

Well good. You’ve come to the right place. Think of the following as a beginner’s guide to throwing a zero waste party.

Zero Waste Kids Party
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1. Reusable, washable napkins

It’s so easy to grab a roll of paper towel and let the kids wipe their hands and face on it.

But is it really that hard to use a cloth napkin then throw it into the wash?

You may not like the design on the napkins pictured below (I think they’re cute), but I’m showing them as an example of what is out there. 

There are a lot of eco-friendly options for kids reusable cloth napkins so I’m sure you’ll find some that your kids will love.   

If you agree with me that these are cute you can check them out on Amazon.

Reusable Washable Kids Napkins
reusable washable napkins

Click here to see more details on Amazon.

Plus, once the party is over these napkins can be reused for school lunches.

For more information on reducing lunch box waste check out my article here. 


Gorgeous Decorating Idea

Check out this beautiful fabric garland that is available on Etsy. So perfect for a summer birthday party!

Eco-Friendly birthday party
Click image to view on Etsy

2. Make your  own Party Hats

You can set up an activity table where the children make their own party hats from newspaper or other recycled paper.

Have you forgotten how to fold a party hat?  

Don’t worry. The video below shows you how.



3. Use your own Cutlery

If you don’t have enough of your own forks and spoons then borrow it from a friend or family.

It doesn’t make sense to get a whole bunch of plastic forks to use once and then throw away.

Many folks have a dishwasher anyway so even washing up afterward is simple. 

It is just one of those things that most of us are used to doing at a party: buy plastic forks for the party, use once and then toss it away.  I’ts like a habit.

But for the sake of the kids whose party we are celebrating, we are going to have to break old habits. 

And don’t forget the reusable straws.

Reusable Washable Silicone Straws. A great zero waste kids birthday party idea
Photo credit: Kitchen Up

 Click to see details on Amazon about these silicone straws

If you don’t want to buy a bunch of silicone straws for guests, but you don’t want plastic either then you may like the paper straws below available on Etsy.

Eco-friendly birthday party straws


4. Bring your own table cloth

If you don’t have your own table cloth, use an old fitted sheet and stretch it over a picnic table.

But if you don’t want to risk your sheets (or table cloth) to a gang of party-crazed kids then check out this cotton table cloth available on Amazon.

Washable reusable owl themed table cloth
Cute cotton table cloth

My sister loves owl patterns so I knew she’d love this picture!

After the cake and party are finished, throw this in the wash with cold water and on the gentle cycle.


5. Ask the Attending Children to be choosy on the Gifts

I don’t mean send them the exact item number of the toy your kid wants, I mean ask them to buy a gift with minimal packaging and to wrap it in newspaper

Or better yet ask the attending children to make a donation to your child’s favorite charity.

One year my daughter asked the kids attending her party to make a donation to our local SPCA (Humane Society).

By asking the attending children to be choosy about minimal packaging it may be the first time the child, or their parents, have even thought about the implications of their buying habits.

It is a way to teach others without being preachy.


6. Paper Goodie bags

Another good activity that you can tie into the party planning is having the kids decorate their own paper goodie bags to bring home. 

The kids may go home and just recycle the bag, but it is better than a bunch of plastic bags going into the trash.

Amazon sells these paper bags that are made from 100% recycled material.

They sell them in packs of 50 bags, which may be way too many for your needs, but perhaps you can share them with friends or family for their parties?

Paper Bags from Recycled Material
Paper goodie bag

Be thoughtful on what goodies you put into the bags too. 

Are you giving a whole bunch of crappy, throw away toys and plastic wrapped candy? 

Try to think through your options.

Little changes like this can help you create an amazing zero waste kids birthday party.

7. Bake your own Cake

If you bake your own cake from scratch you can avoid a lot of plastic packaging.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good ice cream cake but it often comes with a large plastic dome over top and a plastic base on the bottom.

I mentioned it in another article (15 Green Kitchen Swaps) but doing your own baking can help reduce waste

And many baking goods are packaged in paper or cardboard packaging and not plastic.

8. Let them Decorate their own Cupcakes

One year I created an elaborate scavenger hunt for my daughter’s party. I thought it would take the girls 30 minutes to complete.

Well I totally underestimated them and they were done in about 10 minutes!

So to fill in the extra time we now had, my daughter’s mom let the kids decorate their own cupcakes.

It was a total hit.  The girls loved it.

This is a fun activity you can incorporate into your party too.


9. And I’ve saved the best for last –> Eat all the Cake!

I’d hate for all that work you just put into making the cake go to waste!

Eat up, you deserve it, you have just successfully pulled off a zero waste kids birthday party!

Not only did you reduce waste generated by the party itself, but you also helped show the attending children, and their parents, that reducing waste can be easy without sacrificing any party fun. 

By breaking out of your old wasteful party habits, you have proved to others that they can too!

If you liked this, please check out these other posts:

10 ways to reduce your Carbon Footprint … starting RIGHT NOW

reduce your  carbon footprint

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Do you have any suggestions for hosting a reduced waste kids party? If so, please let me know below.

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