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  • binbagchallenge


Updated: Nov 7, 2021

How can you organise a party, what type of gifts can you give, to others or yourself, when you aim to reduce your waste? You will be faced with this question on numerous occasions: birthdays, celebrations, or even diner invitations. Gifts are necessary. Gifts aim to please, both the person receiving and the person offering them. But how can we give responsibly?

Here are some ideas.


  • Focus on experiences: Invite people to the movies, a restaurant, a show. Offer vouchers for a spa, a top restaurant, a special exhibition or special lessons (gin making? Massage?). A National Trust Membership. Organise a week end out. Invite your children’s friends to a trampoline, rock or tree climbing session, or even to a homemade workshop (candle making, art session, den making).

  • Offer sustainable items, when you know your friend needs an alternative to their disposable ontes. Some ideas: a fountain pen, with convertor and a glass jar of ink! To replace the disposable pens that often end up in the rubbish (although they could be recycled). Check Oxfam, they often have fountain pens available. A bamboo toothbrush (well, not second hand for this one). A nice bag as an alternative to carrier bags. or a tree!

  • Offer second-hand items: You can find all types of items in charity shops, Oxfam website: books, home decoration. You can find chic second-hand clothes – or “pre-loved luxury fashion” on Vestiaire Collective.

  • Make, bake or grow presents! A beauty product (check our DIY recipes), a jar of homemade cookies, a seedling from your plants.

Wrap presents sustainably

  • Use old (news)paper that you decorate with drawings and words.

  • Use fabric (using the Japanese art of Furoshiki – i.e. simply take a nice fabric and tie a knot).

Low waste kids birthdays

  • Invitations: make them yourselves, paper based or email (several websites offer this service); or go with basic email/whatsapp group.

  • Food: avoid single use plates, cutlery and glasses – invest in reusable ones (secondhand shops!) and use cloth napkins as much as possible.

  • Party bags: do without – just throw a great party, and leave it at that (a good way to show the kids that fun does not require material items). Or give party bags with sustainable items (books? mugs?) or edible items. You can find good-as-new books in secondhand shops.

  • Gift for the birthday child: get ideas of gifts that will please the birthday child – to avoid unwanted gifts; organise a big common present, rather than having several smaller and unwanted gifts; offer an experience (special playdate/sleepover, day out in the forest, cinema, ice skating, trampoline, climbing, …); or go the no-gift route.

  • Food: keep it simple. Kids hardly eat anything at birthday parties, so rather than ending up with loads of leftovers, just put what is necessary. Instead of juice boxes, mix up a pitcher of lemonade or fruit juice.

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