Throw a One-Trash-Bag Birthday Party

Six kids laughing while sitting around a table with a birthday cake in the middle

Created by: Glad

Ready to make your next event or party a one-bag affair? See if you can make it from start to finish on one bag of trash. Sound crazy? Not with smarter, greener planning.

Before the Event:

  • Email the invitations. Use invitation or social networking sites to send paperless invites. and are two great options.
  • Keep guests in the loop with your green theme. Give your guests ideas on how to be a green-friendly guest. Suggest reusing bags, reducing packaging, and giving experience gifts such as dance lessons or movie tickets.
  • Keep it simple and delicious. Kids prefer fun over fancy. When hosting adults, opt for bite-sized party treats to eliminate excess waste.
  • Check RSVPs. Try to get an accurate guest count and plan accordingly.
  • Buy in bulk and be picky with packaging. From chips to wine, you can please your guests with bigger, boxed options.
  • Go with glass, cloth, and plastic. Use glass dishware, linens, and reusable plastic containers to cut back on bag fillers.
  • ...Or, choose compostable. If reusable dinnerware isn’t an option, choose compostable: sugar cane, palm leaves, and corn will do.
  • Donate your leftovers. Contact churches, shelters, and other organizations.
  • Don’t stress the mess. You can always use the money saved on disposables to hire a young helper in your neighborhood.
  • Go natural. Choose flowers or other natural décor to make your party pop. You can also use anything that can be reused, repurposed, or recycled—such as ribbons, lace, beads, and glass jars.
  • Skip common offenders. That means wrapping paper, tinsel, plastic utensils, plastic cups and anything styrofoam.
  • Create a sorting system. Find a few different containers and label them glass, plastic, aluminum, compost and trash.
  • Use reusable dishes to store food. Try to avoid foil or plastic wrap.
  • Consider sustainable favors. Pass out potted plants or other gifts made from reused or re-purposed materials.

After the Event:

  • Give parting guests leftover food in reusable containers. Less to clean up for you; more food for them.
  • Re-sort your recycling. It takes a bit of practice to keep them separated.
  • Visit to find a compost site. Contact your city’s solid waste or environmental services department for more info.
  • Congratulate yourself. These small steps can help make the world a little cleaner for you and your children.