Hosting an Eco-Friendly Birthday Party

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It seems like not so long ago when planning a child’s birthday party consisted of inviting a few family members over for homemade cake and ice cream. Fast forward to today where the cost of hosting a typical child’s birthday bash can run a parent more than a week’s paycheck.

For environmentally conscious parents, the big event can often become a big frustration. From the wasted food, to the disposable plates and utensils, eco-friendly parents often end up seeing themselves creating one big environmental birthday mess.

The good news is that environmentally conscious parents (and their kids!) can have their cake and eat it too. Here’s how:

• Consider the party location. If you’ve got the room, hosting a party in your own backyard (or playroom) can be the most attractive option. You have complete control, allowing you to be as eco-friendly as you’d like.

• Send out electronic invitations. Help the environment (and your pocketbook!) by sending out electronic invitations rather than paper ones.

• Bake and make homemade. From the pizza to the cake, when you’re in control in the kitchen you can eliminate unnecessary additives, preservatives, colorings and flavorings. You can even opt for organic ingredients.

• Keep it real. Avoid using disposable plates and utensils. If you don’t want to use your own, consider renting them from a company that will bring in (and take away the dirty) place settings.

• Make the goody bags good. Consider purchasing small canvas totes for partygoers to decorate and then fill them with fair trade chocolates or fresh, homemade goodies.

• Horse around. Instead of renting inflatable bouncing huts, play some environmentally friendly games. Consider having a scavenger hunt or having the kids plant seeds in little glass cups so they can grow their own mini gardens.

With a little planning, you can create the perfect party that your child and the environment will thank you for.

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