Post by Cat, who runs Waste Free Party Box (based in Nailsea near Bristol)
As the mother of 3 children I've done a fair few parties and the amount of bin bags we normally filled has always really bothered me. After discovering the reusable party kit concept I was keen to set up one for my local community. Here are my top tips for eco-friendly party bags...
Let’s face it, party bags are most parent’s worst nightmare; a plastic bag filled with pointless plastic tat that quickly gets discarded and combined with a huge pile of sugar! So what can we do to change this and make party bags a little more eco-friendly?
Should we ditch the idea altogether? Having tried this and then been faced with the look of pure disappointment on a kid’s face at the end of the party when he politely asked where his party bag was, I wouldn’t do this again.
Party bags are still an expected benefit of attending a party, particularly for younger children. So what alternatives can we give the little darlings that makes them smile, parents happy and keeps the planet happy and smiling for longer!
THE PARTY BAG
Alternatives to those little plastic party bag:
Use paper bags, like those found in sweet shops or on market stalls
Make your own from small cardboard boxes, like those that multi-pack kid snacks come in
Make your own from a sheet of newspaper. Try this no-glue newspaper bag (YouTube)
Sew your own reusable fabric bags. To find fabric scraps try charity shops or your local Scraps Store
Or reuse the bags your kids receive from other parties. While these bags may be plastic at least by reusing them we are promoting a more sustainable approach to parties (and saving money!). These bags can then be recycled together with carrier bags at larger supermarkets.
PARTY BAG FILLERS
Ideas for eco-friendly party bag fillers:
handmade fun-shaped crayons, check out The Crayon Bug
READYMADE PARTY BAGS & MORE
Want to take the hassle out of putting together your own party bags? The following businesses specialise in eco-friendly party bags and also offer fillers to order online.
Ecopartybag.co.uk - their bags contain a book and extras starting from £2.75.
Yippeeadventures.co.uk - they have party favours with lots of different themes starting from £2.25 these are slightly more adventurous than other sites using fun themes and slightly more imagination.
Search Facebook for people making eco party bags locally, or ask via a local parents group
GIVE A BOOK
Instead of a party bag, why not give a book? A book can be read again and again giving endless enjoyment passing from child to child. Expensive I hear you cry! It doesn't have to be, Books for Bugs offer all books for £2.50 and even have a £1 section! Check out their website www.booksforbugs.co.uk
For more ideas check out Jen's blog Sustainable-ish