Think back to the last children’s party you attended; once the fun and games were over and all of the children had scampered off home what was left behind? If the answer is wrapping paper, cardboard plates, plastic and packaging you are not alone. Every year thousands of tonnes of plastic toys, batteries and unrecyclable wrapping paper are taken to landfill and can take over 500 years to break down.


As we become more aware of environmental issues within our own lives, sometimes it is easy to forget to apply that eco-savvy to our children as well (who are actually leading the way with eco issues). Parents looking to become more environmentally conscious shoppers should take a look at Eco Market a new online marketplace where users can browse from thousands of products, learn about the item's provenance, and then buy directly from eco-seller themselves. It might surprise you just how much making a few small changes can dramatically reduce your environmental impact without making any compromises on fun or cost. With this in mind we bring you our top five tips for having an eco-friendly children’s party.

5 Ways to have an Eco-Friendly children's party

'Snail' mail Maybe you have already ditched the traditional party invitions for an email, text or the more classy Paperless Post. But have you thought of plantable invitations? Invites are printed on seed paper -often with daisy and snapdragon seeds embedded in them - which can be planted directly into soil after you have noted the party location and details of course. We like Botanical Paperworks. If all else fails at least try to send party invitations made from recycled paper or why not make some at home together, and write ‘please recycle me’ on the back. Just avoid glitter, embeltiments and ribbons.

No more paper plates As tempting as it can be to sweep everything into the wheelie bin after a children’s soireé, eco-savvy parents should make the switch from disposable to reusable. Use ceramic plates, bowls and cutlery over their paper disposable alternatives, as a one-off dishwasher load is certainly easier to manage than scraping paper plates clean enough to recycle. For extra brownie points take a look at Little Cherry or Susty Party whose stylish range of tableware is made from the by-product of bamboo and is fully biodegradable and compostable. Also, use paper straws or reusable ones from Babi Pur.

Get baking Home cooking is always best, so bake the birthday cake yourself using local Organic and Fairtrade ingredients and avoid all the unnecessary packaging and cost that comes with shop-bought food.

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Use natural candles Candles made with beeswax are naturally fragrant, nontoxic, soot-free, and non-allergenic. They’re completely renewable and require little, if any, additives which makes them a great alternative to Paraffin wax candles. Try The Candle Kitchen or for more colourful ones try Knot & Bow.

Simply d-ECO-rate Decorating a party does't have to be full of helium balloons and foil banners - that are sadly very damaging to the environment - think outside the box. Colourful fabrics or sheets used to cover tables or benches, plants, paper lanterns and pom-poms and biodegradable confetti will all add texture, colour and fun in an instant. And, what about a DIY piñata? Since they are mostly made out of cardboard and old newspaper, it’s a natural candidate for a DIY up cycling project - and what's more you can control what goes inside.

Party hats Great alternatives to plastic and paper party hats are felt, silk or fabric ones - they can also double up as a take-home party favour. Think crowns, pirate hats or even traditional cone styles - which you could even make at home. We adore the ones from Fable Heart and Pixi & Jon

Lose the wrapping Spending money on wrapping paper which is only going to be torn up and thrown away is not only a waste, but the glitter, laminate and dyes used in most wrapping paper prevents it from being recycled. Instead why not make the wrapping part of the gift itself by wrapping it in a Myfuroshiki fabric gift wrap, a fun and affordable take on the Japanese art of Furoshiki (cloth wrapping). Meaning no wrapping, no tape, no waste and no guilty conscience for you!

Ditch the goodie bags Does any child really need another paper hat or tub of bubbles? Experience based parties such as a trip to the zoo or pottery making leave a lasting memory, which doesn’t get lost at the bottom of the toy box. If you are a traditionalist and are determined to give out goodie bags then why not consider switching to a re-usable gift bag and filling it with sustainable and natural goodies such as wooden toys, small puzzle or craft set (we love the ones from Cotton Twist - especially the reusable tins). Another great option is to give a book to each guest.


{This is an updated article that in part previously appeared in a printed issue of Junior magazine}