There are lots of reasons to celebrate in this life: birthdays, anniversaries, retirements, graduations, housewarmings, good weather — the list goes on. Parties are a chance for us to come together with friends and family, sharing food and stories over laughs and festive decorations. I mean, who doesn’t love a party?

Well, the ocean for one.

The problem with parties is the decorations. Most party decorations take the form of disposable, single-use plastic and paper products that can’t be recycled and get thrown away instead. I’m talking about streamers, balloons, banners, noise-makers, sashes, and more. Though these decorations are meant to bring fun and cheer to a party, they just end up as pollution that harms the earth.

Encouraging the stubborn people in your life to choose reusable or sustainable decorations might lead to difficult conversations, but don’t let that stop you. We all have to do our part to share knowledge and information with each other if we want to work together for a greener future, and we have to start somewhere.

When attending a party, it can be frustrating to see all the disposable decorations, but rather than start with judgement, be kind. Remember that the host was only thinking of making the party fun for everyone when buying decorations. Try explaining what happens to balloons or streamers once you’re done with them. Since most decorations can’t be recycled, they become garbage and end up in landfills, on our beaches, and in our oceans. Tell your friends and family that our best bet to avoid this reality is to refuse single-use plastic and paper decorations altogether, opting for home-made, repurposed, or reusable decorations instead.

And if you’re throwing your own party, lead by example! The next time you’re putting a celebration together, make conscious decisions to reduce waste and show your friends and family that it’s not impossible.

Instead of buying balloons, you can make your own bubble mixture at home using just a few household ingredients. Rather than hang streamers and banners, you can make your own wall decorations using recyclable paper and a pair of scissors. From candles instead of paper lanterns to flowers instead of tissue centerpieces, there are lots of ways to throw a sustainable celebration that will impress your friends and open up a conversation about reducing waste wherever we can.

And don’t forget to put out reusable cutlery and plates when it’s time to eat!

P.S. If you’re looking for more ways to bring sustainability and eco-consciousness to a party, consider donating to Plastic Oceans Canada as a gift for a loved one. You’ll be reducing the waste of gift wrap and packaging while also contributing to our cause to keep our oceans clean.


Read the previous article in this series.