Although I love (love love love!) party supplies, I had to take a step back and think about my contribution to the trash of this world. It's no secret that single-use plastics are polluting the planet, especially because most of the time they aren't actually recycled. We've all seen images of trash-filled beaches, trash islands in the ocean twice as big as Texas, and floating trash in the Caribbean Sea. As much as we think our trash is gone, it really isn't. Time and time again, we are seeing it pop up in oceans, landfills, and beaches. It's our responsibility to do all we can to improve these conditions. Because of this, I am going to try to do something practically no DIY and party blogger has done before- strive to be more eco-friendly and show you more sustainable methods for your parties. Because while these projects and party themes may be cute, they're killing the planet. And you don't have to sacrifice style to be eco-conscious. To start off small, I'm showing you 10 ways that you can make easy swaps for your next party!
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Wooden Cutlery Instead of Plastic
Single-use plastic utensils are probably the biggest waste of money and resources. But, they're so easily accessible and convenient! I challenge you to try wooden cutlery for your next party. There are so many ways that you can customize the utensils if you wanted to, but honestly they are totally fine as-is! They come in fun shapes and colors, but I think tying them with a simple ribbon can also add a nice pop of color similar to the way plastic forks can. Or, try decorating the handle with washi tape for an easy, stress-free look!
Paper Straws Instead of Plastic
I think we've all seen that tragic story of a straw being pulled out of a turtle's nose. Along with being absolutely heartbreaking, we know it's unnecessary. There are so many times we get a straw and don't need one. Any time I'm at a restaurant, I get a cup and a straw- and I always give back the straw. For your next party, try switching to paper straws. There are SO MANY fun designs, which makes them even better for mixing and matching the theme. They're pretty affordable too, and can be used after the party for ordinary drinks. They don't last as long as plastic straws (which is a good thing!) so be sure to keep them out of the liquids until guests are ready to drink.
Compostable Plates Instead of Plastic
Another easy swap is going from plastic plates to paper or compostable ones! Plastic party plates aways end up in regular trash (not recycling) and that's a huge amount of plastic going straight to the landfill. Try switching to something more eco-friendly, like these sugarcane/bagasse plates. You can also use paper plates, which are still better than plastic ones. Look for uncoated paper plates, which can be composted if you're into that sort of thing. This article explains a little more about it.
Reusable Melamine Plates Instead of Disposable
If you really want to be eco-friendly, reduce and reuse! Instead of going for disposable items, invest in a cute set of reusable melamine plates that can match any theme. I love these because they are white on top but have a fun pop of color underneath. If you want to go this route but can't afford the investment, consider going in with a group of friends to create a complete party set. Then, you can put it in a giant container and share it whenever it's needed! Fostering community and saving the environment. What could be better?!
BYO-Cup Party Instead of Disposable
I had a party earlier this year and I decided the theme was Bring Your Own Cup! Each guest brought a cup of their choice to drink out of for the night. This is fantastic because you don't need to worry about having cups for everyone and you don't ned to wash dishes either! I can't tell you how many parties I've been to where I'm tossing out dozens of plastic cups because no one knew which cup was theirs. This solves that problem even better than a sharpie! I always use my disco ball cup for parties, but my new favorite is a pineapple cup or shell cup for summer. The options are endless!
Reusable Cups That Double as a Favor
If you don't have enough cups for the group, how about purchasing a set of reusable cups that can double as favors? Home Goods always has tons of cute and affordable cups that you could purchase as a favor, and they're definitely better than giving a bag of plastic toys that kids play with for 2 minutes and forget about! This idea would be great for both kids and adults. Just make sure you don't get anything too cheap and crappy- you don't want it going right in the trash!
Personalized Mason Jars Instead of Plastic Cups
Another alternative to plastic favor cups is to use glass mason jars as cups. You can find these in almost any store (like Michael's, Target, or similar) and they've always got sales. To personalize them, use a Sharpie to write each guest's name. This way, everyone knows which cup is theirs! Add a cute paper straw and you're in business.
Paper Fans Instead of Tissue Paper Poms
Tissue paper poms are easy party decor items that takes up a lot of space, but they don't store well so you can't re-use them. Once they've been unfolded and fluffed, they're pretty much trash. Try using paper fans instead! They come in every color and pattern imaginable, plus they fold up again if you want to re-use them, especially if you use my handy dandy hack! They don't take up a lot of room to store because they fold so compactly, but once they're set up they really make an impact!
Honeycomb Balls Instead of Balloons
Unfortunately, we are starting to see that even balloons aren't good for the environment. Releasing them can have devastating effects, as they can get tangled up with animals or land in places they shouldn't. Even those tossed in the trash can end up in the ocean, where they are mistaken for food. Instead of balloons, use honeycomb balls to create unique party decor and even "balloon" arches! They have the same round shape and come in all kinds of sizes (and even shapes!), so you can create the exact look you'd like. PLUS, you don't have to worry about them deflating!
Disposable Paper Tablecloth (or Reusable Ones) Instead of Plastic
Aside from the fact that plastic tablecloths look kinda cheap, they are full of creases that you can never get out (and not to sound like a broken record but... awful for the environment). Try switching to paper tablecloths! They come on a roll or in a pack, but they usually have a plastic liner underneath so be sure to get a fully paper one. Or, even better, invest in some inexpensive polyester tablecloths that you can toss in the wash after use. I have a large black one I always use for my food table and it's held up really well- plus no stains! For the easiest party set, skip the tablecloth completely and stick with a simple runner!
I like to keep it light over here, but this was something that was really weighing on me. We're all guilty of choosing convenience over sustainability sometimes but it's important to start making changes that will help the earth, not hurt it. I hope this blog post showed you that being eco-friendly isn't really hard, and can actually be really cute!
Now, I need some feedback from you. What did you think of this post? What types of items would you like alternatives for? Let me know in the comments below!