Thursday, 15 August 2019

Eco- Friendly Party Bags

I am going to show my age here but when I went to parties as a child the whole idea of party bags hadn't come about - instead the kids either went home with nothing or a slice of birthday cake wrapped in a paper napkin ... how things have changed.  Now parents seem to fall into 2 camps when it comes to party bags.  Some choose to keep the cost down with a small plastic bag filled with a number of generally plastic toys and sweets. Sweets are probably devoured before the children get home and toys are played with briefly before ending up in the bin.  Other parents spend a small fortune of presents to go in their bags but the end result is often the same - sweets quickly eaten and yet more plastic toys that the children do not need.  So what should eco-aware parents do when it comes to party bags?

My first suggestion would be to totally buck the trend and send the children home with nothing or just that slice of cake.  The more people that do this the more normal it will become and others will follow suit.

However if you still want to send your young guests home with a bag of goodies here are a range of ideas to reduce the plastic and keep them eco-friendly.

Eco-Friendly party bag ideas

Ideas for Eco-friendly Party Bags

The bag

Avoid plastic and go for bags made from paper, hemp, cloth or anything home-made from materials you have around the house. You can also make bags from newspaper or make a small box or cone. 

Misc items to add to your eco-friendly party bag

  • Crayons and a small colouring book/printed sheets
  • Loose sweets (home-made even)
  • Boxes of raisins
  • Playing cards
  • Wooden ruler and pencil
  • Marbles
  • Paper hats to decorate
  • Books - you can get packs of books from book clubs are a very low price 
  • Home-made bath bombs
  • Book marks
  • Wooden yo-yo or similar toys

Foodie ideas

  • Make a paper cone filled with sweets
  • Bake each child a cup cake or some biscuits sent home in a little cardboard cake box
  • Cookies or muffins in a jar - layered ingredients in a glass jar look gorgeous and just need the addition of an egg/butter at home.
Cookie mix in a jar

Go for something a bit different

  • A flower pot with small paper bag of compost and some seeds, either wildflowers or vegetables. Don't forget to add growing instructions
  • A crafty bag filled with the loose items needed to make something eg a wooden spoon, some wool etc to make a spoon person.
  • A lucky dip - wrap small gifts in newspaper, place in a big bag and let the departing child dig in for a gift.

What to avoid

  • Anything made from or wrapped in plastic - don't make a party an excuse to dump more plastic on other families
  • Anything too expensive
  • Balloons
  • Collectible items - this puts pressure on parents to buy more of the set 
  • Glitter - most is made from plastic
  • Buying supplies online where you may not be able to avoid plastic packaging.

Do you have more ideas to create eco-friendly party bags? Or will you be brave enough to ditch party bags altogether?


  1. Hi Rosie, I am so glad that those party days are behind me, but even then we never went overboard with the party bags. Money is far too precious to waste... I must say I do like the idea of sending children home with muffins or cookies in a jar or seeds to plant... Wouldn't it be nice if children did go back back to being content with taking a piece of cake wrapped in a paper napkin? They don't know what they are missing!


  2. Love this post, so many times we have come home with bags of tat. We usually give out books, craft supplies or LEGO. Plastic I know, but at least it lasts forever and will be used by generations to come.

  3. we used to hand out cake, inflated balloon and maybe some stationery when our kids had parties. We've been to many parties where the kids were given gifts, often costing more than the gift we took. Thankfully I don't have to worry about stuff like that anymore but am available to help our son and DIL with their baby (due in 2 weeks) when they get to that stage #goinggreen

  4. I love the idea of marbles and bookmarks! Classic items.

  5. Great topic - the pressure to buy unnecessary plastic junk toys that a probably only used for a short time is really crazy. Hard to break the vicious circle where one parent may want to outdo the other, peer pressure and everything... #goinggreen

  6. I love these ideas, I tend to purchase a reading book for the children to take home with them.

  7. For my daughter's 5th birthday recently I bought reusable water bottles for the take-home gifts! It worked well as we had smoothies as part of the party food theme, and I found some lovely glass bottles with different coloured sleeves. The girls loved them!