The birthday party makeover
A children's birthday party doesn't have to mean gifts galore, loot bags full of goodies, and enough wrapping paper and packaging to fill your family's recycling bin and trash can to overflowing. There are all kinds of things you can do to smart-size and green-up your child's birthday bash.
If you want a one-click solution, check out ECHOage.com (www.echoage.com), an eco-friendly birthday planning company which takes care of everything from birthday party invites (electronic, of course) to gifts (a single gift for the party guest plus a donation to the charity of the birthday boy or girl's choice and a tax receipt for the party hosts).
Of course, you can apply a lot of the same wisdom à la carte – and throwing your own creative solutions into the mix.
Green loot. Loot bags could be reusable grocery bags with a couple of earth-friendly items tossed in (ideally items with tremendous kid-appeal, of course). Or, if you're hosting a do-it-yourself workshop birthday party, the completed project could substituting for the loot bag and its contents.
Green itinerary. Birthday party activities often determine how much waste is generated. A birthday party that is hosted by the local fast-food restaurant is doing to be much less earth-friendly than a field-trip birthday party that finishes off back at your place for food and cake on reusable dishes.
Green transportation. If car pooling makes sense for getting the kids to school or extra-curricular activities, why not car pool at birthday party time, too? Encourage parents to share rides as part of the party planning process.
• Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting, including The Mother of All Parenting Books. Catch up with her at www.motherofallblogs.com.