Plastic Free Cotgrave

Reducing single-use plastics


Children's Parties


Have you ever given any thought to how much waste is created at a children’s party? With tableware, decorations, balloons, party games, bags and food, there is so much! Here are some helpful ideas to reduce waste:



Many shop bought decorations are single use and made of plastic. How about instead of the plastic birthday banner you use reusable fabric or cardboard bunting? Avoid the balloon arches or plastic Helium balloons: Helium alone is a real issue. (Helium is a finite resource which we are running out of, one report predicted that there is only sufficient Helium for another decade and it is an essential element of providing MRI scans in hospitals).


Instead of balloons use homemade decorations or reusable paper pom poms.



Disposable tableware means that there’s less washing up at the end of the party, but what message are we giving our children? That disposable is OK?


Instead of buying paper plates, napkins, cups (which aren’t actually recyclable as they’re generally plastic lined), consider using reusable tableware. Ask the children to put their pots straight into the sink to make the washing up easier later. Did you know you can hire reusable partyware more cheaply than you can buy the single use disposable non recyclable plates? Take a look at to see where you can hire a reusable party kit from.


It is worth noting that locally Radcliffe on Trent Pre School Playgroup has 2 party kits of 30 settings available for hire for only £7.50 per kit. Contact them through their facebook page or email them on



Party games

Many games do not involve any plastic waste so that is good! Think carefully about ‘Pass the parcel’, if it involves plastic toys/sweets in each layer. The waste that comes with each layer that is discarded creates an enormous amount of waste and is very time consuming in preparation. How about wrapping in newspaper so that the wrapping is at least being reused rather than using brand new wrapping paper which is often not recyclable? Or even better, play ‘Pass the ball’: the child with the ball when the music stops gets a (plastic free!) prize/sweet and leaves the circle. The last child remaining gets the prize. How about buying sweets in bulk – or check out one of our zero waste shops?


Party bags

We all know how much useless plastic “stuff” we have lying around our homes from previous party bags that is never played with. Try and be creative here – how about a book or some wildflower seeds


These party bags are simply reusing paper bags from the greengrocers! How about being even more radical: is a party bag itself (usually plastic!) actually needed at all? How about a generation of kids who are grateful for taking home cake?

Party Bag



Try and avoid food that comes with single use plastic!! If you have to get food in single use wrappings consider buying in bulk – e.g. big crisp packets instead of individual ones (and you can recycle the packets too) or tubs of sweets.


Also consider fair trade chocolate and locally sourced fruit etc.


Also think about the food waste itself- we all know some children (often our own!!) who will pile their plates high with food and then only eat half of it. Maybe consider individual servings or plating up food for them in the first instance? And this will help with the concerns of too many hands in a plate of food whilst were waiting to feel safe in these Covid times.