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How To Throw a Green Birthday Party

Have your kid's pool party with pizza and cake, but instead of presents, how about food for the local shelter? Sustainable birthday parties reduce waste and foster goodwill.


  • Step 1: Party! Party! Party! Use real silverware and serve cake on real plates or recycled paper products and serve food made from local ingredients, if possible.
  • Step 2: After the party, perhaps on a different day, take some of the children to deliver the donations. Let them know the impact their party had.
  • Step 3: Make sure the children know how important and appreciated their donation was. A personal thank-you from the receiving organization or a letter on official stationery can make a kid feel special.
  • FACT: Paper and paper products —including wrapping paper and toy packaging—make up more than one third of Americans' daily garbage.
  • Step 4: Send out invitations that include a request for donations instead of presents. Provide the list of what is needed.
  • Step 5: Once you've chosen an organization, find out what is needed and when it could be delivered. For example, animal shelters might need dry food, wet food, old towels, and cat litter.
  • TIP: Some families hold a small family birthday party with presents, but then have a larger party for friends with donations.
  • Step 6: Think of causes connected to your child's interests. Consider giving to an animal or wildlife rescue operation, or perhaps collecting toys or food for a homeless family shelter.
  • TIP: If you can't pick a cause, have a used-book exchange. Everyone brings two books—one for the birthday child and another to swap with a guest.
  • Step 7: Talk to your child about an alternative birthday party with donations instead of presents.

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