14 Ways to Host An Eco-friendly Party

Do you have a party coming up and you’re worried about all the potential waste? Well here’s 14 eco-friendly party decorations, tips and ideas to help you care for the environment while celebrating! From eco-friendly party decorations to eco-friendly party games and entertainment, we cover it all.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read about our privacy policy.

We all have been to or thrown a party where, after it’s over, there is so much leftover and gone to waste. Sadly, typically parties are not eco-friendly or sustainable. There’s always a lot filling up your trash bags from leftover food to plastic plates and decorations.

We recently celebrated my little one’s 2nd birthday and we strove to host a greener eco-friendly party. Just like any party, it took a little planning ahead of time to really make it work.

While some might think that throwing a sustainable, eco-friendly party is expensive, there are several ways to reduce your impact and throw a party that leaves a smaller footprint. You don’t have to do all of these at once, but implementing small changes can make a difference.

Below are 14 eco-friendly party tips and ideas to have a lot of fun without too much waste! 

(FYI these ideas and tips work for most any type of event from kid birthdays to adult parties!)

Eco-friendly Party Tips & Ideas

  1. Electronic invites instead of paper mailed ones – This is one of the easiest swaps to make when throwing a party. Whether you’re creative and design your own invite or just purchase a digital download from Esty or somewhere similar, party invitations almost always start out digitally nowadays.

    So why go through the hassle of printing physical paper invites to mail!? You can email the invites or even just text the invite to your guests. It’s so much less time consuming and wasteful…also you don’t have to buy stamps or envelopes!
  2. Digital slideshow instead of printing photos – For many birthday or anniversary parties, people will print off photos to display at the party and then never use again. We found that dumping all those pictures into a folder and hitting the slideshow button is less time-consuming, and doesn’t cost anything. Also, you don’t end up with a stack of photos afterwards that you may never use…cause be honest, most of us forget about the printed photo albums or scrapbooks nowadays.
Easy photo slideshow by just hooking up to the tv
Sending an invite via text is super easy, coinvent, and you’ll likely get an instant RSVP!

Reusable/Recyclable Instead of Disposables

  1. Use your own dishes or ask to borrow – 
    • Dishes, Cups & Utensils – Most of us have multiple sets of dishes and utensils, so why not use them?! It’s an eco-friendly approach and all you have to do is throw them in the dishwasher afterwards. Also, they don’t all have to match! Having a variety of mismatched sizes let’s your guests choose what they want and gives your eco-friendly party a unique look.
    • Serving ware – Some people (like myself) may have gotten a lot of serving ware when they got married (i.e. platters, chips and dips bowls, etc.). So dust them off and USE THEM! Or between you, your parents, and others, you could probably borrow what you need. So plan ahead and ask if you can borrow what you need.
Mis-matched glasses adds character
Eco-friendly party ideas and tips - use your dishes
Using multiple sizes and mixed plates is perfectly fine
  1. Reusable Fabrics – Beyond just your dishes, you can choose to use cloth napkins and tablecloths instead of purchasing disposable or plastic ones. We use our reusable napkins everyday at mealtime, so it’s not a one time use. We also have several tablecloths from our wedding that we use for parties now instead of tossing them.
  2. Buy paper and compostable plates, cups & utensils – While using what you have is definitely a great eco-friendly party idea, sometimes we just need to go with another option. So buy unwaxed paper plates or compostable party sets to cut down on landfill waste. Here’s another biodegradable party set if you’re looking for ones that look a little fancier. These are a great option if your party is outside or not at your house where having your own dishes is easier.

    Just make sure to inform your guests to put them in the compost bin and not throw them in the trash! Lastly, it’s not all or nothing. If you have cups and utensils, but need to buy compostable plates, then do it! 

Tip – If you don’t have enough dishes, consider buying some serving ware and glassware (new or secondhand) or even renting from a company. Instead of buying something to compost/throw out you could just put that money towards something you can reuse!

Eco-friendly party decorations
Used some vases and branches we already had for decor
Had a paper decoration from another party that we slapped a lion face on to make it work with the theme
Eco-friendly party ideas and tips
Eco-friendly party decorations
Plants are easy eco-friendly party decorations, especially if you have a nature-themed party
  1. Eco-friendly party decorations
    • Use household items you already have – plants, vases, string lights, picture frames can all become party decorations if shifted around and arranged in fun ways!
    • Buy Second-hand – Pop on over to a thrift store and see what you can find! There’s always unique secondhand items that can be used for party decorations. Sometimes you can even get stuff for super cheap!
    • Rentals – There are a ton of companies out there that you can rent anything you can imagine from. It just takes a little research and willingness to pay for their use.
    • Items you plan to reuse – Yes, we’ve bought balloons or plastic decor, so I’m not saying you can’t. We just tried to be conscious of what we purchased and how we could reuse it in the future.
      For example, I bought an air-filled text balloon that said “Baby” that I’ve used/let others borrow for multiple baby showers, gender reveals, birthdays…you name it. Also, I invested in air-filled letter balloons to spell my child’s name, which I can use at almost every party focused around my child. Focusing your purchases around items you’ll reuse makes them more eco-friendly.
  1. Resuable/recyclable labels – It’s always fun to label the food/games with fun names to relate to the party theme! Use items that can be reused or later recycled/composted to reduce waste. For example, chalk boards are great signs that are easily reused. You can also simply make some paper printouts with themed food labels or activities that can be recycled afterwards.
Chalkboard with fun themed labels
A name game I bought, printed on paper, and stuck over a picture temporarily = easy eco-friendly party decoration

Eco-friendly Party Gifts

  1. Ask for eco-friendly gifts
    1. Non-toy gifts – donations to a charity of the guest of honor’s choosing or ask for cash gifts to go towards an experience like a trip.
    2. Wooden or Second-hand toys – Toys are the go-to gift for kids, but many of them are all plastic and can’t/won’t be recycled. So look for wooden toy options or second-hand toys that can be a more eco-friendly option.

      One of our favorite subscription boxes for our little one is the Panda Crate by KiwiCo. KiwiCo’s toys are tailored to the child’s age range (FYI, they have boxes for all ages ranges from infant to 16+). The Panda Crates have these lovely bamboo wood toys with non-toxic paint that our little one LOVES to play with! We also really love this adjustable wooden Balance Bike by Kinderfeets.
  2. Save the gift wrapping – While there are a lot of sustainable, eco-friendly gift wrapping options, you’ll inevitably end up with plastic bags and tissue paper. Instead of throwing them out, flatten them out and save them for reuse later. I have not bought any bags/tissue paper in years because my mom taught me this tip. Thanks, mom!

Eco-friendly Party Food Choices

  1. Plan an eco-friendly food menu
    1. Provide mainly plant-based food – There are a lot of yummy party snacks that don’t have to contain meat products.
    2. Seasonal fruits from the farmer’s market – don’t  pay a premium for out of season produce.
    3. Charcuterie and cheese board makings from a local deli – a lot of times this allows for less plastic packaging and you can get an exact amount to minimize waste. Buying local food also helps support businesses!
    4. Bake your own food – We made bread and cake for this party using baking goods we had.
    5. Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging
Eco-friendly party ideas and tips - local meat and cheese board
Meats & Cheeses from Local Deli
Homemade Cake (my hubby is awesome w/ chocolate stenciling!)
  1. Don’t overload on food – I absolutely know how hard this is not to do…everyone fears they’ll run out of food. In my experience, guests will naturally portion themselves based on the amount of food on display. There are also a lot of guides out there for how much food per guest you should provide.

    Be prepared in case you do have extra food. Simply have some of your tupperware ready to load up and share with family and friends…..hopefully you can trust them to get it back! Or if you don’t want to keep track of tupperware, opt for another option. You can buy paper bags or containers that can be recycled/composted like these to give away.
  2. Dispose of everything appropriately – Recycling, Compost, & Landfill
    We’ve found it most effective to just announce to all your guests your intentions to recycle and compost with trash being the last option. A simple explanation of what’s compostable and recyclable goes a long way in reducing what ends up in the trash at a party! Also, clearly labeling the bins (maybe even with pictures) helps everyone too!

Eco-friendly Entertainment

  1. Drawing/Board Games – Many of us already have board games in our houses, so break them out for the party! Also, you can use chalk and chalkboards for a variety of games like Pictionary.
  2. Scavenger hunts – An easy, fun form of entertainment that can use things around you. For our animal-themed birthday party, we used all the stuffed animals we already had to create a Safari Scavenger Hunt. (FYI adults and kids alike enjoy searching!). As for the scavenger hunt list, print on paper that can be recycled or composted afterwards to reduce waste.
Eco-friendly party ideas and tips
Safari Stuff Animal Scavenger Hunt
A moose stuffed animal we already had
A fun game you can eat afterwards

So break out the eco-friendly party decorations and supplies! There are a lot of ways to host a sustainable, eco-friendly party, so try out some of these ideas and tips!

What’s your favorite eco-friendly party idea or tip? We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, so leave a comment!

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *