Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Goody Bag Overload

My son went to his first birthday party for a friend from school today.  It was a lovely milestone and he had a great time.   We do birthdays very simply around here, even for the little guys so far.  So I always have to adjust to the amount of stuff that goes into throwing a child's birthday party.  And this time specifically, the amount of stuff my son came home with.  I would have thought he was the birthday boy with all the toys, goody bags, and treat bags.  And I realized that this happens every day, all over the world and will no doubt happen countless more times for Tucker.  Oh, the plastic/trash/toxin overload for the Earth.  

But before you go assuming that I am a complete party pooper, I am not suggesting that you don't graciously accept the goodies.  I just have a few suggestions for how we all might put them to the best use to help the planet.
  •  Ok, I said I wasn't suggesting you don't take the goodies; but if this is the party for a good enough friend, and you feel comfortable saying it, you might mention that she doesn't need to make up a bag for your child to begin with.
  •  Make it a habit to immediately sit down with your kids and give them a toy or two (their favorite of the bunch), a piece of candy or two, and set the rest aside.
  • Save the candy for treats throughout the week, special occasions, or if it's close to a holiday, Easter Baskets or Halloween buckets.
  • Put some of the toys aside for your home general store.
  • Put some of the toys aside for making your own grab bags later.  In fact, we have actually constructed whole birthday gifts out of such goodies.
  • Carefully fold the bags and tissue paper and put them aside for reuse on the next occasion.
With just a few simple steps you can make sure birthday goodies get a second (and maybe third and fourth) life, the Earth gets some relief, and you save some money in the future.  Oh yeah, and that you aren't picking random small plastic out of your couch cushions and the bottom of your feet for weeks on end.

Do you have tips for what to do with goody bag overload?  Come on, I miss y'all!


Suzanne said...

Great post! I couldn't agree more and want to encourage parents to 'green' their goodie bags. The company Green Planet Parties makes it easy with one-stop shopping for cloth decorations, biodegradable tableware, beeswax candles, and sustainable goodie bag and gift items. Check out Let's all work together to reduce plastic waste at birthday parties and in our everyday lives.

co-founder Green Planet Parties

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Marianna said...

Refreshingly my children have each been to two birthday parties recently where there were no goody bags. Interestingly, they didn't miss them. I decided after the first party that I would not do goody bags. In the past, I've done painted canvas projects. The kids had something to take home that wasn't junk.

MLDB said...

For Avery's birthday last year, I gave the kids reusable water bottles to use at the party, then to take home. The kids AND the parents seemed to appreciate it, and I didn't end up with tons of empty juice boxes hanging around.

Willo said...

Thanks MLDB and Marianna, those are both brilliant ideas for providing a little something to take home without creating more trash.

Miss. A said...

Great ideas!! I took my daughter to a party recently and they did have treat bags, but it was nice to see there was no bag made up for my little girl. She is only 16 months and really doesn't need that stuff but it was especially nice that they new me well enough to know that I would rather not have it for her.

Lori said...

We're throwing a birthday party in two weeks. Rather than goody bags the kids are getting homemade crayon rolls and I'm reminding everybody to reuse/recycle the crayons.

Plus my daughter loves Halloween, and wanted a Halloween birthday, so we're just breaking out the fall decorations and don't have to spend money or buy garbage!

We went to a party where they gave out $5 gift cards to a local juice bar. Those were great!