As plastic-free July comes to an end, we're thinking about all of the different ways we, as a family, can reduce the amount of single use plastics in our lives. One occasion where we felt like we could definitely cut down on waste was at our kids' birthday parties. We're not alone either, more and more councils are banning the use of straws, and even balloons at public playgrounds and parks. 

Traditionally, when a birthday rolled around I loaded a trolley with disposable cutlery, paper plates and cups, goody bags to fill with cheap plastic party favours and individually wrapped lollies. I even bought a plastic tablecloth. 

It felt so easy to have this kind of party – everything just went into the bin at the end of the day. But then I’d look at the shameful amount of garbage and be a bit embarrassed. Sometimes I even made grandparents take a bag of trash that wouldn’t fit in my bin home with them.

This year, I tried something different and found used party decorations in my Buy Nothing group. I asked my friends to go through their cupboards and see if they had reusable plastic cups, bowls, plates or cutlery they wanted to get rid of. Hot tip - everyone does! I put them in a tub and created a kid’s party box, which I lend to friends and will use again next year.

I bought some bulk bags of unwrapped lollies to put in brown paper bags as party favours. The kids were still happy, and parents were grateful I didn’t gift them pieces of plastic to stand on later that night. No one missed the pointless plastic tablecloth. And it felt great to send the decorations and the party box off to the next celebration, instead of the bin.

How have you made a celebration just as special, without using single-use plastics? Let us know with a comment! 

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