Thursday, November 19, 2009

Birthdays and Being Green

When you are talking about kid's birthdays and being green, it's usually not in the same sentence.  Let's face it, birthday parties are about games, presents, cake and goodie bags - that's it.  Yes, I know that it's supposed to be a celebration and gifts aren't important, but try telling that to a preschooler! 

This year we tried to do it a little bit differently for my son's birthday party.  I invited 5 kids (4 families) and each came with a parent.  Before I knew what I'd done, I'd gotten caught up in the birthday decor - the plates, the tablecloth... none of it reusable.  But before it went to far, I stopped myself.  

I went hunting to see what leftovers we had and began to plan what we needed for parties.  To that end, I went to IKEA and bought a six piece set of kid's plastic bowls, plates, cups and cutlery.  Now the kiddies had fun stuff to use and I can reuse it here daily as well as for my next kiddie birthday party (coming up quick).  I used the paper stuff for the adults, but only opened one package of plates, figuring we'd switch to my dinnerware if needed.

I knew I wanted to hand out goodie bags - last year I did books and a toy car - things that would last. This year I sewed up a tote bag, a crayon roll (with crayons) and a matching bean bag.  I added a colouring book and viola.  A goodie bag that has things in it designed to last a long time and spark the imagination.   I'm pretty proud of them, that's for sure and will post a picture here asap.

As for cake - the only kind my son can have is either homemade (and I didn't have time to make one) or an icecream cake.  We chose an icecream cake big enough for the party and the family gathering coming later. (after all - it goes in the freezer, right?)  The only part of that we didn't recycle or eat was the base under the cake.

Prior to his party, I cleaned out the kid's toys and packed up a large box of stuff to take to the swapmeet.  Kid 'stuff' swapmeets are very popular here, and I've been building up a big collection of stuff to take to one.

Many of his gifts didn't have much for packaging - a big plus, but for those that did, I pulled it all apart until I had everything recyclable out of there and in the blue bin.  There wasn't very much waste, which was a really good thing.

The party was a great success - 6 preschoolers and two babies playing, yelling, screaming! 3 hours, plenty of help.  This allowed us to enjoy the kids and the day.  I think that having planned a little better this year, and having considered the impact of most of what we did, helped to make it a little Greener than it would have been without the legwork.

We've got lots of room for improvement, but this was a fabulous start!

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