How to Host a Zero Waste Birthday Party

zero waste birthday party

Zero Waste Birthday Party

This weekend, we celebrated Vasco’s first birthday with our family at the farm. I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. It seems like not too long ago I was blogging about zero waste pregnancy and zero waste baby registries. It’s been such a special year, and I’ve enjoyed sharing our natural living and eco friendly journey in parenting with you. It hasn’t always been graceful, but I’ve loved learning new ways to include the zero waste lifestyle into our daily lives as new parents.

When the topic of birthday parties started swirling around, a month or so before Vasco’s birthday, I thought we wouldn’t host a party for him at all. In my mind, why would we throw a party that he honestly wouldn’t remember. I also started thinking about the obstacles we’d come up against in trying to host a zero waste party. The more I thought about it though, it is a really special day for Vasco. He’s lived a healthy full twelve months and we should totally celebrate! So it was decided – zero waste birthday party challenge accepted!!

I’m thrilled to share with you some tips for hosting a zero waste/low waste birthday party for your little one!

Birthday invitations

Ok, here’s the deal. A digital invitation, using a platform like, is certainly the perfect waste free option for sending out birthday invitations. It’s also cheaper for you, because you don’t have to pay for postage or for physical paper invitations. However, we decided to go with paper invites. There’s just something special about receiving a card in the mail. I ordered the invitations online, and they did come wrapped in film plastic. Ugh!! Nevertheless, they are made of paper and can easily be recycled or composted by our invitees. I heard there are even some Etsy sellers that offer invitations printed on flower seed paper that you can plant. I think that’s a really great option if you’re wanting a physical invitation. They’re good from the environment and support small business owners – double win!

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Use “real” plates and silverware

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The main contributor to waste for birthday parties is the disposable dinnerware for sure. Instead of disposable paper plates, cups, and plastic cutlery, choose reusables! Again, this is going to save you some money, just like choosing digital invitations! Use the plates, glasses, and silverware you have in your own cabinets. If you don’t have enough dinnerware of your own, ask a friend or family member if you can borrow some for the party. If you don’t have a friend or family member that is willing to share, you can purchase dinnerware for super duper cheap at thrift shops and estate sales. Head over to your local thrift shop and buy a few extra plates and silverware. After the party, you can donate the dinnerware back to the thrift shop. Easy peasy! If you really really want disposable dinnerware for your party, consider a compostable option like bamboo.

zero waste birthday party

Party foods & drinks

We chose to prepare a purely plant based party food spread! I made homemade guacamole and salsa which was completely zero waste. Although I could have purchased tortilla chips plastic free at a local Mexican restaurant, I did buy tortilla chips in plastic bags for the party.  They were considerably cheaper than the Mexican restaurant chips. We splurged on the birthday cake not the chips. My sister made a delicious homemade, vegan spinach and artichoke dip that we served with tortilla chips as well. We also had a cute rainbow fruit tray. I was inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest! At the party, we also served mock chicken salad sandwiches and veggie flatbreads. We purchased a super delicious vegan chocolate cake from a local bakery. It came in a paper box. For drinks, we had sweet tea and lemonade – both prepared by my awesome sister!

zero waste birthday party

Skip the gifts

Gifts can be a tricky one.  A lot of the time, family members really do want to bring something special for your little one. You do have some options though! One option, you could ask for no gifts at all (boring!). Another option, you could ask for everyone to bring their favorite book to share with your child. We went a different route entirely. For Vasco’s birthday, instead of gifts, we asked for all of our invitees to bring a card, momento, photo, etc., that we will save and give to Vasco on his 18th birthday. I’m really looking forward to Vasco opening this box of special items years from now!

DIY decorations

When I went shopping for party decorations for Vasco’s birthday, I realized that most decorations came wrapped in plastic. Your best option here is to get creative and make your own decorations for your party. I saw this really cute cake topper at the craft store and wanted it for Vasco’s birthday cake but it was wrapped in plastic. I decided to save myself the $3 and make my own cake topper. It turned out pretty good!

Head over to Pinterest and browse around. That’s where I found my inspiration for Vasco’s high chair banner. Of course, you can buy those pre-made at the craft store, but I made our own banner using bandanas, burlap, and string.

I know balloons are a common birthday party accessory, but we chose to avoid those at our party. Balloons are bad for the environment, and you can find out why here.


zero waste birthday party

zero waste birthday party

Zero waste party favors

I really wanted to give throw and grow seed balls to our invitees as a party favor, but I ran out of stock of those guys in my shop! Instead, I filled little paper bags full of wildflower seeds and tied them with twine. On the front of each bag, I wrote “Love makes little things grow.” It’s a simple, affordable, zero waste party favor idea that’s also good for the bees and butterflies!

zero waste birthday party

What are your best zero waste birthday party ideas? Please share with in the comments!!


Want more zero waste party inspo? Check out these other really great blog posts by my zero waste blogging friends:


Zero Waste Kids’ Birthday Party

7 Ideas for a Zero Waste Birthday Party

How to Throw a Zero Waste Birthday party for your kid


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I started a Youtube channel guys! Check out my video about Vasco’s first birthday party!! 

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zero waste birthday party

2 thoughts on “How to Host a Zero Waste Birthday Party

  1. There are so many great tips in this post, Jesse! I really love how that high chair banner turned out – so sweet! Happy birthday to you all 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for reading Meredith! <3

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