Family embracing at outdoor party

When you think about it, a birthday party can have a huge impact on the environment. Lots of the traditions we have aren’t the most sustainable, and that’s why so many people are now opting for more sustainable methods of throwing a party. 

Celebrating by having an eco-friendly party can still be just as fun and beautiful. We’ve got ideas for goody bags, decor, and even gifts that can be totally sustainable.

Selecting the birthday theme

If you choose an eco-friendly theme then there’s every chance you will have an eco-friendly party.

Why not skip the electricity altogether and have an outdoor party or a candlelit party? Or try to learn something about the environment as a part of the party. If your friends are into gardening then this can be a fantastic party theme and help you to create something for the future.

Outdoor parties still need some structure and a few amenities, don’t skip trendy round carpets as they play a big role. Choose the neutral colors that you won’t have to worry about matching up with other items.

Paperless invitations

Do you really need a paper invitation? They may look cool, but a calendar event you send around or an email invite is just as effective, and probably easier for everyone. They’re definitely better for the environment.

You don’t even have to design a specific invitation, a lot of people just create text invitations. People are usually just pleased to be invited to the party, so they aren’t likely to be too concerned about the fact that they don’t have a paper invite to stick on the fridge.

Blow off the balloons

Balloons are a luxury to do without if you are going to be kind to the environment. They don’t degrade quickly, they aren’t reusable, and we don’t recommend them for any sort of sustainable party. Instead, there are plenty of floral decorations you could use.

When you think about it, balloons don’t really serve any purpose, anyway. 

Choose sustainable gift wrapping

Gift wrapping with anything plastic or unsustainable is not recommended, so try to think about ways that you can wrap gifts sustainably. Recycled paper can be an option, and maybe you can use newspaper or even an old map to minimize your footprint. Think about whether a gift really needs to be wrapped anyway? You could ask guests to think of creative, sustainable ways to wrap gifts that they bring.

Sustainable serving

When it comes to food and drink, you will want to make sure your guests are well fed and watered throughout, but is there a way to do this that is truly sustainable? So much of what people normally use for parties is not reusable, so we recommend finding a method that takes the environment into account before the party.

Use reusable dishes

Paper dishes, plates, and cups, or even plastic models, feel like such a convenient option. It’s understandable that you want to minimize your washing up at this time, but resist the temptation. Use reusable dishes to be more responsible. Unfortunately, you’re just going to have to do that little bit more washing.

Skip the bottled water

Bottled water really can be a nightmare. If you are buying favors for the party then this can be one of the best ideas, get everyone a reusable bottle so that they can use this time and time again. So much better than a plastic bottle that can have such a damaging effect, we’ve all heard the stories about how much plastic is in the ocean.

Green your birthday candles

Some people don’t even know that birthday candles don’t tend to be sustainable! That’s why it’s vital to give some thought to your decorations before you actually throw a party. Some companies have started offering specific candles, usually made out of palm wax and filament-free cotton wicks, so there is no paraffin. Birthday candles may also contain animal products, so always read the label if this is something that concerns you.

A No Gift Birthday?

Do you ever think that someone really doesn’t need anything at this time? It’s a situation like this that leads to people buying novelty items that might raise a smile but actually just hinder the environment. 

Instead of a gift, why not ask everyone to contribute to an experience or a sustainable meal locally that the birthday boy or girl can enjoy at a later date, once the party is over? If you make it clear that you don’t want any gifts at all then people may be glad of saving the money, too.

This is effective for kids, as you’d usually end up with a load of toys that are not environmentally friendly, but it works for adults too and is a way to avoid waste.


In the modern age, we surely all need to think about our footprint and try to do things in a more sustainable way, and a birthday party can be a needless source of waste. Let’s make things more sustainable this year. 

Leila Amber is a home improvement and interior design expert. She has a keen interest in the content that inspires her to dig deeper into the practice and create helpful design and decor guides.

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