A big thank you to Beth from Little Kits for her top tips on how to throw a sustainable teenage party.
Teenage parties have always been the stuff of parents’ nightmares. I remember my own parents laying down the law when I turned 16, and that was back when a village hall disco with a few bowls of hula hoops sufficed.
In the age of social media, the bar is raised by endless images of extravagant balloon arches and elaborate cakes. So, when faced with such competitive partying, it’s easy for even the most environmentally-conscious of teens to overlook sustainability.
At Little Kits, we specialise in reusable children’s party kits. However the principles of celebrating in a sustainable way remain the same regardless of age. Here are five top tips for planning a more eco-friendly teenage party that will still impress in the style stakes.
1) Paper-free party invitations
For big birthday celebrations like Sweet 16s, it could be tempting to go all out with fancy “real life” invitations. However, teenagers exist in a largely digital world and would probably think nothing of sending e-invitations in place of paper ones.
A simple WhatsApp may be enough for smaller gatherings, although for larger parties it can be difficult to track who’s responded and who hasn’t. There are plenty of online companies that provide stylish, editable templates and allow you to manage RSVPs.
We love Fundzzle, a digital invitation platform whose mission is to help people gather more meaningfully through charitable and environmentally friendly get-togethers. You can create e-invites, track RSVPs, send reminders and thank you notes.
2) Eco-friendly party decorations
Balloon arches can look amazing, but what’s fun for a few hours wreaks havoc in the environment. Even “biodegradable” balloons can take years to breakdown. And that’s if they don’t get caught in the stomach of an unsuspecting animal beforehand.
As a rule, stay sustainable by avoiding foil, plastic, latex, glossy or coated paper and anything with mixed materials, as these cannot be recycled. Paper streamers, garlands and fans that can be recycled can look just as effective, if not even more stylish, than balloons.
Fairy lights and fabric bunting create a great party atmosphere and can be re-used for future celebrations. At Little Kits, we offer a Party Essentials kit that’s ideal for teenagers. It includes 40m of handmade flag bunting, as well as a lightbox with a customisable message.
3) Reusable party supplies
We’re all aware these days that one-use plastic is a no-go, but in fact paper plates aren’t much better. While it’s easy to order a pack of cheap, throwaway plates from Amazon, paper plates can’t actually be recycled if they are covered in food.
Paper cups are often lined with plastic to stop leakage, again rendering them unsuitable for recycling. Compostable plates are the best of the disposable bunch, if of course you make the effort to compost them.
For the most sustainable approach, the key is the simple switch from disposable to reusable. Our party kits contain reusable plates, cups, bowls and serving ware for hire. If you’re not local to Little Kits, check out the Party Kit Network to find similar companies in your area.
4) Waste-free Party Food
One of the biggest mistakes people make when planning a party is to over cater on the food. We all worry that there won’t be enough, especially with a bunch of ravenous teenagers on the prowl. Plan for your numbers, based on what one person will realistically eat.
It can be tempting to offer something lavish, but it’s better to cater for the masses. Keep things simple. Go for a buffet of firm favourites like pizza, crisps, popcorn, crudites and dips. Try to avoid excess plastic packaging, choosing recyclable wrapping where possible.
Present simple food in a more eye-catching way by creating a grazing board. You can DIY or make it stress-free by hiring a catering company. We partner with local company BettyAnnGrazing, who offer incredible grazing tables that can be adapted for all ages.
5) Sustainable Birthday Gifts
Teenagers are notoriously difficult to buy for. This means they often end up being given something they don’t want or need. Chat to your child in advance and get a feel for what they’d like to do regarding gifts. It may be that they’re happy to request no presents at all.
If they would like gifts (and fair enough, it is their birthday!), don’t be afraid to guide party guests down a more sustainable route. Maybe by politely advising things like ‘no plastic presents’ or ‘use recyclable wrapping paper only’ on the invitation.
You could even get in touch with your teenager’s friends to organise a group collection for something you know your child would really appreciate. Of course, Equipp has a huge range of thoughtful gifts for teenagers that are beautifully made with sustainability top of mind.
While being more sustainable in every aspect of life can often feel overwhelming, small switches can make a big difference. With these five simple tips, you can throw a more eco-friendly party that’s a hit with even the hardest-to-please teenager!
Beth is a freelance copywriter and co-founder of Little Kits, a small business based in Hertfordshire.
Little Kits was born from the knowledge of just how time-consuming and stressful it can be to plan the perfect party, as well as a desire to help protect our children’s futures, encouraging a more eco-conscious approach to celebrating. The reusable party kits contain all the tableware and decorations you need to throw a stylish and stress-free celebration with zero waste.
Thank you so much, Beth, for these helpful tips on how to throw a sustainable teenage party. We know that teens really are about sustainability and know that they’ll come in really useful.
Louise & Anna x
A little bit about Equipp
We’re Louise & Anna, mum to 5 teens and young adults. We set up Equipp to help spread happiness and positivity amongst today’s amazing young people. We believe it’s vital that every teenager is given confidence to believe in themselves. Telling them how wonderful they are and putting a daily smile on their faces via the cards and gifts they receive from Equipp is integral to everything we design and produce. Have a browse around our collections of birthday and teenage milestone gifts and please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like any recommendation.
We love to celebrate teenagers in every way, and are building a community of parents who feel the same. We hope you enjoy reading our blog posts and we’d love it if you came and joined us on Instagram or Facebook to chat about parenting teens.
Oh, and we’re raising money for a fantastic teenage suicide prevention charity, Hector’s House, with a donation from every purchase from Equipp.