Honestly, sending printed party invites is not just wasteful but also outdated. If you can quickly send birthday invites on email or whatsapp, then you can save paper. In case you have no other option but sending a physical invite, select a recycled paper instead of glossy plastic-coated paper invites. You can also add a ‘recycle after use’ reminder on the back of your invite.
There cannot be a better cake than homebaked. But if you are ordering a cake then be mindful of a few things. Order a cake in limited quantity to avoid wastage. Try to keep food colour-free where possible — even though food colours are edible, they are artificial.
The best way to use green party decoration is to make your own out of unwanted items from home, like a cardboard castle. But if you don’t have time, then I would suggest buying plastic-free paper decorations, which look classier too. If you want to avoid repeat buying of decoration, buy standard paper decoration items which can be used for many different themes and parties. You can also swap decorations with your friends or other parents.
Create a responsible goody bag free from sweets wrapped in plastic or cheap plastic toys which break easily. If you are adding treats, add healthy treats. I prefer to add dates, oat biscuits, raisins or sun-dried fruits. As for plastic toys and a plastic pot of bubbles, replace them with simple colouring pencils, notepads, tiny activity books and stationery items.
Have separate trash bags for recyclables. Label the trash bags clearly.
Ideally, it’s better if you could use reusable plates, cups, cutlery. If you don’t own it, you can rent it. However, if disposable items are the only option available, then try to use the same plate for food and cake, pour juices in cups and avoid juice boxes attached with straws. Also try avoiding packaged foods in smaller portions. instead, ask your friends to help serve food and reduce food packaging waste. Basically, try and find ways to reduce the use of disposable items even if you are using sustainable alternatives.
Add a note to your party invitations with a hint for them to bring your child a plastic-free gift or eco-friendly gift.
www.sustainabilitytribe.com features useful information on how to be more environmentally aware in the UAE and includes a section on Green Parenting.