Eco Friendly Party With Easy Substitutions
April 24, 2020
Plastic free drink ware for eco friendly party

How To Throw An Eco Friendly Party With These 20+ Easy Substitutions

If you've ever wondered how to throw an eco friendly party you're not alone. An increasing number of people are striving to make better choices for our environment and events often account for a lot of waste.

Host Sustainable party by Salt Lake Party Stylist

How Do I Make An Eco Friendly Party

We've all heard the easy ways to live a more “green” lifestyle. Turn off lights. Don't waste water. Recycle your paper and cans. But what do you do to make your parties more eco friendly?

Eco Friendly Party Decorations: Use THIS instead of THAT

Air Instead of Helium

Make a splash pool party food table and balloon garland by Salt Lake Party Stylist
Balloon garland with Mylar letters at our Make a Splash Pool Party

100% Biodegradable Latex balloons on garland instead of using cheap balloons and helium. Helium is a natural resource often in short supply.

So instead of being frustrated that it's not available, let's be mindful and find other ways to use balloons.

But are balloons really biodegradable? Or should we be finding more environmentally friendly balloon alternatives instead? You can read more about the safety of balloons here.

Live Plants Instead of Cut Flowers

This is a simple one but not always easy. Potted plants don't have the same visual appeal as a cut arrangement. So lets get creative and start with a potted plant and add cut flowers.

Or use little potted succulents.

Party Like a Panda tablescape from top

Or perhaps bamboo stems to replant after the event like at our Party Like a Panda birthday celebration.

Recyclable instead of Trash

Have a ball party printables, favors, and decor
Have a Ball Party Printables from our Have a Ball Party

I'm a HUGE fan of party printables and their ability to transform a space while tying together a theme without a lot of money. It takes work in the beginning but at the end it's all recyclable.

And if you keep it generic {no name or year}, you can reuse it for many celebrations to come.

Eco friendly party gift bag and card
Eco Friendly Gift Wrap Sets from Pixels and Pop

Other items like paper table runners (ie: gift wrap), and paper favor bags are also recyclable once the party is over.

These gift wrap sets are designed to transform generic shopping bags into gift bags that can be used again and again.

Electronic instead of Printed

Electronic invitations are a simple way to spread the word, automatically receive RSVP's and send easy reminders without the hassle of printers, stamps, and the Post Office.

And although it saves paper, gas, and time, I still love a good old fashioned printed invitation. So it's up to you. If you do send an invite, choose an FSC certified paper and have it printed with soy based inks where possible.

Compostable Instead of Plastic

Colorful scalloped Compostable party plates

Compostable Place Settings

So many companies are making compostable products these days. And they aren't plain Jane, in fact they are rather stylish! Here are a couple of my favorite eco friendly party supplies:

Living Favors

I love giving out party favors but many of them end up in the trash. Use your money wisely with a few eco friendly party favor ideas:

Reusable Party Decorations

Plastic free drink ware for eco friendly party

Chinese Lanterns instead of Balloons or Paper Poms

Lanterns can be used to create a similar garland effect if you aren't too keen on balloons. These lovelies also pack well and if treated well will last for years.

How many more environmentally friendly balloon alternatives can you think of?

Personalized Fabric Favor Bags instead of Plastic

Giving kids something they can actually use again, especially if it has their name on it, is a big win. Those cheap plastic bags have a life of about an hour before they {best case scenario} end up in the garbage can. Check out these cute reusable dinosaur favor bags. Or these darling personalized pirate “loot” bags.

Deflate Mylar Letter Balloons instead of Popping Them

Letter mylars are my favorite and while it's easy just to trash them at the end of the night, with a little effort they are reusable! Insert the same inflating straw and use it to push the air out of the balloon.

Invest in a Few Nice Pieces of Serving Ware instead of Using Disposable

I can't emphasize this point enough! If you have a stock of nice serving ware, platters, bowls, trays, and serving utensils you will be SET for any event that gets thrown your way.

If you don't have anything yet, start collecting now. Choose something classic, like:

Start with a few pieces and add to it for each event you do. They don't have to match, just choose a style and stick with it.

Rethink The Idea of Gifting

Dog Themed Puppy Birthday Party Ideas for tween girls
Children donated items for the Humane Society at a Puppy Birthday Party aimed for kids.

Donations instead of Gifts

Most of us likely have our basic needs met so let's give people an opportunity to honor the guest of honor while helping someone in need. Invite guests to donate to a charity or cause instead of bringing gifts.

Host a Fiver Party

Or invite people to pitch in $5 for a “Fiver party” and help the recipient to save up for something they actually need.

Buy Credits

As a birthday gift to yourself, consider purchasing carbon credits to offset your overall carbon footprint. The average annual CO2 emissions per person in the US is 20 metric tons. Check out this calculator to see how you're doing.

Eco Friendly Party Menu

  • Add Plant Based Items to the Menu reducing the need for animal products and providing a vegetarian/vegan offering for guests.
  • Serve Healthy Party Food. Which doesn't necessarily help the planet but improves our health and ability to make great choices.
  • Donate Leftover Food to the Homeless. If you have a large event, chances are great that you'll also have a leftover. Package them up and drop them off at a local homeless shelter. As long as the food is new, hasn't been served, and has been kept at safe temperatures, they should be able to accept it.
  • Compost Any Produce Waste as you prepare for the event toss any produce waste or eggs shells into a green garbage bin or compost pile. And remember to actually compost those eco-friendly plates and cups you bought!

Embrace Nature as Your Host

Cobalt blue glass and blue bottle of mineral water on blanket for charming summer picnic party
Charming Summer Picnic Party Ideas

Finally, use what the Earth has provided as part of your event plan, instead of fighting against it.

  • Host your event outdoors during the day and reduce electricity & need for heating/cooling your home or venue
  • Eat by candlelight, which is both romantic and energy efficient. Especially if using soy candles like these {that also have the COOLEST wood wicks!}
  • Buy locally grown food/flowers in season for the best tasting nutrient dense foods and freshest blooms. Plus it doesn't have to travel too far, saving lots of energy.

Ready to Throw an Eco Friendly Party?

After this HUGE list it might feel overwhelming. Please don't feel like you need to check every box on the list. Choose a few that don't feel hard, and maybe one that does.

Try it out. See how you feel. If it works for you, make it a part of your routine event planning. Then choose a few more to try.

I'd love to hear your favorite ways to throw an eco friendly party. Will you please let us know here or if you share tag us @partieswithacause on Facebook and Instagram so we can celebrate your success!

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Throw an eco friendly party by Salt Lake Party Stylist

More Environmentally Friendly Party Ideas

There was SO much to say about eco friendly party ideas that I've broken it up into a 3 {or 4 or 5} part series. Stay tuned for the next article:


  1. Nathalie - Press Print Party!

    I haven’t used helium for a couple of years now and I have a lot of party decor I re-use all the time. And of course, I agree with you that printables are always fun and recyclable!

    • Brianna Adams

      I haven’t used helium either in a long time. So many great ways to do a little better!! Thank you.

  2. Lori

    I love all these thoughtful ideas for celebrating responsibility!

    • Brianna Adams

      I’m so happy to help. There are so many little ways to can make small changes that add up to something much bigger.

  3. Natalie Mayhew

    Great ideas! I reuse my Mylar too! And I love the fabric favor idea!

    • Brianna Adams

      It’s SO great to reuse those balloons isn’t it. I love that I have a little library of them to choose from. Glad that these were helpful.

  4. Jackie

    Having a plan to donate leftover food is so thoughtful, I like this idea for our next party.

    • Brianna Adams

      It’s been a great way to feel good about extras at the end of the night. The caterers appreciate it too.


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Nice To Meet You!

Gingerbread houses in a row as table runner centerpiece for a Christmas Cookie Exchange Party I’m Bri of Parties With A Cause. I’m a mother to three crazy awesome kids, interior designer, & party planning junky. I love reading, globe trotting, and frozen yogurt. And I’m elevating the party experience one cause at a time! Read More

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Healthy food substitutions lists

Grab the Healthy Food Substitutions List for BEGINNERS

If you're ready to improve your lifestyle and the health of your family, join me in the "Healthy Hostess" movement. Where we serve great food to the people we love. With food that nourishes the body and events that feed the soul. Use this food subtitution list to plan more intentional holidays and gatherings. Collect healthier recipes, less stuff, and more meaningful memories, with me at Parties With A Cause. 

You are on your way to Healthier events! One food substitution at a time.

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