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How to Throw a Sustainable Party with Juliana from Partyora

How to Throw a Sustainable Party with Juliana from Partyora

Balloons, streamers, ribbons...lolly bags. There's not doubt that traditional parties come with alot of...WASTE!

Good news though, you can go throw a sustainable party without ruining the fun!

Balloons, streamers, ribbons...lolly bags. There's not doubt that traditional parties come with alot of...WASTE!

Good news though, you can go throw a sustainable party without ruining the fun!

To help you do just that I reached out to Juliana who runs Partyora. She is the queen of eco-friendly parties for kids (and adults)!

Here are her 8 tips to help you plan your next waste-free party.

First up, tell us a bit about yourself and Partyora

Juliana who runs partyora and helps people throw sustainable parties

I’m a Sydney mum of 4 boys, I have always loved anything DIY and love a good low waste party!

Partyora is an online eco party hub, you’ll find all the best eco party supplies from around Australia, eco party services such as local cake makers, plastic-free entertainment, sustainable party hire, and more on our directory plus party planning packages!

I started Partyora in 2019 with the idea of having all the low waste and plastic-free party options for busy parents to get ideas, spread awareness, and involve their kids to change the way we celebrate!

1. What exactly is a sustainable party?

Typically parties are all balloons, plastic party prizes, and single-use plastics as tableware, we’re switching it up and providing low waste, waste-free, or plastic-free alternatives!

There are so many eco-friendly party supplies out there that are not only environmentally friendly but also reusable so you’ll get so many more uses for each celebration! 

2. What are some great themes for a low waste party?

Our most popular themes are nature-inspired such as Rainbows, Sunflowers, Fairies, Outer space, Dinosaurs, and even mythical creatures like Unicorns, Mermaids, and Dragons. It’s easy to incorporate natural elements into all of these themes which you can view our low-waste party ides and inspo here.

Table set up with nature-themed eco-friendly party

Any theme can be incorporated into a low waste party, it’s just a matter of thinking outside the box! We see a lot of children wanting “what’s in” or the latest movies and tv show characters as their birthday themes, usually licensed characters like Disney, Superheroes, etc, and whilst there are the big chain stores that sell party supplies of these characters, they’re usually plastic and single-use!

I recommend making your own Party decor here to match your theme, and getting the kids involved too.

3. What's a good alternative to plastic loot bags & ideas for what to put inside?

Any natural materials are great for party bags, brown sandwich bags to kraft paper bags, cotton drawstring varieties, and cotton canvas are all terrific options, these can either be composted after use or reused time and time again for zero waste!

Set of 10 nature inspired reusable party loot bags

As far as eco party bag fillers go, there are so many options but my favourites would have to be

  • Books
  • Bookmarks
  • Seed packets
  • Homemade playdough in jars or tins
  • Homemade cookies or cupcakes or donuts (These can double as a party activity if you get guests to decorate them)
  • Small wooden toys
  • plaster paint sets
  • colouring in sheets or booklets
  • Wooden pencils, erasers, natural crayons

You can view our sustainable loot bags range here.

4. What are some good activities for a zero-waste party?

Plaster painting, colouring-in, cupcake, or donut decorating are all popular. You could even hire entertainment; there are some great low tox face painters, magicians, or other entertainers who provide activities without plastic waste. Often you can request plastic-free options and most are more than willing to accommodate. 

Girl with a cupcake

5. Are we taking the fun out of parties by making them low waste?

Definitely not, there are alternatives to every part of low waste parties from buying sweets in bulk and foil-wrapped, to eco party bags and prizes, so you can still celebrate big sustainably.

6. What are your suggestions for sustainable and reusable decorations?

When thinking of decorations, I let our clients know that the kids' toys (especially if it’s in the theme) are great table or centerpiece decorations for the party.

The most popular reusable decorations would have to be fabric buntings and handmade garlands - these can be reused for every party in the family or children’s bedrooms as wall decor.

Happy birthday reusable fabric bunting

Tissue paper pom-poms and honeycomb balls are fantastic alternatives to balloons and can be folded back down for reuse also.

There are lots of handmade and reusable cake toppers and even printable decorations which are great for setting the scene.

7. And what about party games/prizes? 

The pass the parcel is still a favourite #partygame and with good reason, it gets everyone involved and we find all ages still enjoy it even if they won’t admit it! 🎉‍.

Our Fabric Pass the Parcel sets have been popular! Not only will they save you time and reduce the amount of waste when wrapping your pass the parcel, but you can also reuse them for each party or lend them to a friend!

Reusable fabric pass the parcel bag set

Simply pop in some Eco-friendly prizes starting with the smallest bag, then add that into the next sized bag with another prize and continue til full! When it comes to prizes for party games, think ethically sourced, natural materials, and Australian handmade!

Whilst it’s sometimes hard to find plastic-free options, if you’re prepared with a list of items, it can stop you from impulse buying shiny plastic objects that will break easily and end up in landfill!

Here are some of my favourite eco party prizes:

Colouring in books
Natural crayons
Small wooden puzzles
Peg dolls
Crochet keyrings
Handmade Playdough
Wooden playdough stamps
Seed packets
Ribbon wands

Here are some eco-friendly party game ideas!

8. Presents! Should we avoid them, or do you have some sustainable gift-giving ideas. 

My best tip here is to use gift wrap bags that are reusable over single-use types and gifting mindfully. There’s nothing wrong with gifting something useful and made to last. Our favourites are clothing and books but experience vouchers are fantastic and zero waste! Here's our range of eco-friendly gift wrapping ideas.

purple and teddy bear reusable gift bags

Inspiration for all (not just the kids!)

We hope you've found some zero waste party inspiration from these tips Julianna has so kindly shared. 

And hey, whilst these suggestions are based on kid's parties, many ideas shared here you can incorporate into other celebrations (i.e. Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Christmas).

The number 1 thing to remember is that it's the occasion being celebrated that is most important on the day. For my daughter's 4th birthday party, I felt pretty bad about the 'no balloons' rule, but...guess what? She got over it! There was cake, games, our handmade decorations, and she had her family and friends to celebrate with, and this (surprise surprise) was her highlight of the day!

For more zero waste tips and inspo check out our other sustainable living blog articles here.