Numerous factors go into planning a party, and if you’re also trying to host an eco-friendly party, there are a few things to consider before the event. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll break down how to host an eco party for any occasion, including eco-friendly party themes, activities, food, and decor.
What is an Eco Party?
An eco party is a gathering that’s thrown more sustainably. Eco-friendly parties will implement measures to minimize waste by prioritizing eco-friendly decor, catering, and activities.
Eco parties might be centered around a holiday or a birthday party, or they could look like having a party centered around an eco-friendly theme, like Earth Day or organizing a beach cleanup meet-up.
Whatever the occasion or theme, it’s possible to turn any party into an eco-friendly one.
Why It’s Important to Host Sustainable Parties:
Parties are fun and important events to celebrate special moments and holidays. They can generally be wasteful, though. Most parties rely on unnecessary disposable plastic products that go straight to the landfill once the event is over.
The bigger the party, the more wasteful it often becomes but small parties can still generate a fair share of waste, depending on how they’re run.
Thankfully, hosting an eco-friendly party doesn’t always require additional work — it just requires making conscious decisions. Hosting eco parties can even be more cost-effective since it helps reduce the number of items consumed and purchased.
How to Host an Eco-Friendly Party for Any Occasion:
There are several important areas to consider when hosting an eco party:
First, consider your party theme and see how you can make it more sustainable.
If you’re hosting an eco-friendly kids’ party, it could be made plastic free. For a sustainable holiday party, you can set gifting limits beforehand or have everyone bring a homemade dish.
An eco-friendly birthday party might look like requesting low-waste or experience gifts, doing a nature-based activity like camping, or visiting a sustainable spot, such as an organic farm with kids or biodynamic winery for adult birthdays.
You can also choose an eco-friendly theme for your party and make sustainability the main event. Some eco-party theme ideas include:
Outdoor Hiking or Camping Party: Organize a day or weekend trip to a protected outdoor area and focus on appreciating your natural surroundings.
Clothing Swaps: Bring your friends together to swap clothes you never wear. Bring snacks, turn up the music, and make it a party!
Beach Cleanup Party: Organize a beach cleanup with your friends and gather sustainably afterward on the beach. (Don’t forget your reusables!)
Pot-Luck or Plant-Based Picnic: Have everyone bring homemade goods for a potluck-style picnic or pick up plant-based (ideally local!) items.
Environmental Awareness Day: Why not host a party celebrating your favorite environmental cause or holiday (such as Earth Day)? You can spread awareness while having fun or even turn it into a fundraiser.
Eco Party Activities:
There are several ways to make party activities eco-friendly. Many of them already are. When it comes to eco-friendly party games, any game that’s low waste (or that you already own) is a great start.
Some eco-friendly party games for adults include:
- Card games,
- Board games you own or thrift.
Another fun eco-friendly party activity is to organize an at-home sustainable spirit or wine tasting. Have everyone bring a vegan wine or locally crafted spirit to partake.
When it comes to eco-friendly kids’ party games, there are numerous options such as:
- Musical chairs,
- Apple bobbing,
- Duck duck goose,
- Tag, or any outdoor game.
- You can also organize an outdoor treasure hunt. For the end prize, choose something edible, useful, or sustainably made.
If you’re hosting an eco-friendly holiday party, a white elephant gift exchange can be an option for an eco activity. Discuss gifting rules ahead of time and request that everyone bring something secondhand or something they already have that’s still in nice condition.
Eco-friendly Party Decorations:
If you’re trying to host an eco party, using eco-friendly decorations is one of the best ways to limit waste. Any decorations that are plastic-free, compostable, or recyclable are a step in the right direction.
Here are a few more suggestions to help you decorate more sustainably:
Eco-Friendly Party Bags:
If possible, you could skip the party favors. This might not always be feasible, though, particularly for kids’ birthdays! In this case, opt for thoughtful items that can be used (and won’t end up tossed out the next day). Less can be more when it comes to sustainable party bags. Here are some ideas:
- A DIY item you and/or your child made for everyone
- A craft that the kids make at the party that they can take home afterward
- Edible, low-waste treats
- Biodegradable or recyclable arts and crafts
And then you can wrap the gifts in tote bags, thrifted baskets, or reusable gift wrap.
Instead of buying decorative items for your party, consider making them yourself. DIY decorations are a wonderful way to make use of things you already own and prevent additional waste. Some fun DIY decorations are:
Natural or Edible Decor:
Numerous seasonal and natural items can double as decor.
- For holiday parties: you can use foraged branches, pinecones, and/or holly.
- For fall parties: apples and pumpkins make for festive eco decor.
- In the springtime or early summer, there’s nothing like fresh, local flowers to make a room look party-ready.
You can also turn edible items into decor, such as themed cakes, cupcake towers, or a display of decorated cookies.
Whatever eco-friendly decor option you decide on, look into how you can dispose of it mindfully — or reuse it — when the party’s over.
Eco-Friendly Party Food & Drinks:
Food and drinks are the heart of any party. They are also very easy to make sustainable with a bit of research and thought.
One of the most sustainable ways to cater a party is by serving homemade food. This is typically more cost-effective as well, but it does take time.
To help with that, ask guests to bring homemade dishes for a potluck party. During the holidays, you can even have leftover parties. This is a fun way to cut down on food waste and time spent cooking new dishes.
Another sustainable party food option is to prioritize serving plant-based, seasonal dishes.
For easy eco-friendly party snacks, stock up on bulk goods or cut-up veggie and fruit platters to reduce plastic packaging.
If you’re having a larger party, consider ordering from a local small and/or family-run restaurant or hiring a local caterer that will properly dispose of waste afterward.
To further cut down on waste, avoid disposable plates, cups, and utensils. If you don’t have enough dishware, ask guests to contribute!
If you need to go the disposable route, opt for biodegradable disposable cutlery instead of plastic.
Limit Food Waste
Last but not least, it’s key to properly dispose of food waste. Throughout the party, have your garbage, recycling, and/or compost bins clearly labeled for guests.
Remind guests to bring containers for leftovers or have beeswax wraps on hand to easily wrap up extra food.
When it comes to hosting an eco-friendly party, any effort to lessen waste, particularly plastic, makes a big difference.
Whatever you choose to do, feel free to get creative, and most importantly, remember to have fun. Hosting an eco party shouldn’t add extra stress or money, but it may require a little time or community effort.
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About The Author:
Alicia Briggs is a writer & editor specializing in slow travel & sustainable living. She’s worked in journalism since 2016 and currently writes for a variety of publications such as Sustainably Chic and Hidden Lemur. She has been a full-time traveler since 2018 and runs her own blog, Learning the Local Way, where she covers responsible travel & living tips.