CHILDREN’S parties – we have all been to them.

They are loud, noisy, busy but most of all fun and special. When I did my son’s last year, I realised how much waste that one party created – even when I tried my best to reduce waste.

I used re-usable tin platters, made my own food and sandwiches to reduce food waste and food packaging – you name it, I did it. But I still had bin bags full of wrapping paper and plastic junk to get rid of at the end. Guilt definitely kicked in.

How to serve the food and drink was the biggest obstacle. For starters, I could purchase a huge set of re-usable plates, cups, bowls, cutlery, and jugs.

When I told people about this the response was really positive and now this set is borrowable from the stall for free. Lots of other places also lend these types of items out, like village halls and some schools, so get sharing.

Items be wrapped in tissue paper, or in a reusable paper bag, or even plain brown parcel paper – all these are recyclable, unlike some wrapping papers.

No cards with glitter, embellishments or foil, and skip the balloons. Paper lanterns, paper pompoms or bunting look just as pretty and can be re-used each year

Ask whether people can put toward a larger present your child may love, instead of getting lots of smaller gifts that often get thrown away.

Buy books, vouchers for special days, zoo passes, meal vouchers. Not only do these encourage special family time but also reduce the waste from toys.

Make your own food and make less food rather than more.

Skip the plastic tat in the party bags. Replace it with a seed bomb, naked sweets, a plant they can grow, a book, a homemade bookmark made by your child, a pencil, colouring book, use paper bags or small wooden toys like wooden tops, whistles, puzzles or yoyos. The list is endless.

Hopefully these hints and tips will help you to reduce your party waste in an easy and convenient way.

If you are doing something I’ve missed, let me know at

  • Charlene, from Lostock Gralam, will give a talk from 11am on September 14 at Knutsford Market Hall’s open day