As a busy mom, you’re likely to attend several birthday parties a year – and not just those for your children. For example, there’s the “best-friend-of-your-child” birthday invite. The “bring-the-sibling” birthday invite. The “all-inclusive-classroom” party invite. The “I’m-inviting-your-kid-only-to-be-polite” invite.
And the quantity of birthday parties increases proportionally with each child you have. (I live in the same vicinity as the Octomom – she’s a mom of 14 including a set of octuplets…can you even imagine all of her future invites?!)
With all these invitations come a lot of parties and, unfortunately, a lot of trash. If you’re a veteran party attendee and have ever stuck around for the clean-up part, you know what I mean: trash cans overflowing with soda cans, water bottles, streamers, popped balloons, wrapping paper, plastic silverware, paper napkins, etc. I always hear at least one person at the party ask the host, “What do you want to do with all this trash?”
But, there’s an even more important question that should be asked: “Is there a way we could have prevented all this trash?” The simple answer: Yes.
I had the opportunity to talk with Monica Sanchez, a “mompreneur” who has learned to balance raising kids with building a thriving business focused on reducing waste at group gatherings.
It’s called Eco Friendly Party, and it helps people create “green celebrations” – without leaving their chair. Literally, they can arrange the entire party online: from planning and invites, to ordering decorations, organic food and recyclable supplies.
According to Monica, if you focus solely on “saving the planet” then it’ll feel like an overwhelming, daunting task for any one person. Even Superman didn’t make the planet any healthier or greener!
However, if you shift your focus to “the little things” and make even the tiniest changes, you’ll produce a big impact on the environment as well as on your family’s health. Here are five easy tips on how to make small but profound steps in creating a healthier, greener place:
1. USE E-VITES
Paper party invites are definitely pretty, but so are electronic invites, especially if you take the time to personalize them. Have fun with the creative opportunities. Your kids can even design them. For example, Monica’s daughter designed her own e-invites by uploading a picture she took and then pairing it with a fun slogan. She then used this picture to be the decoration for the cake.
2. SKIP THE JUICE BOXES
Rather than the traditional sodas and Capri Sun drink pouches, opt for fun jugs or punchbowls stocked full of ice and water with organic strawberries (cucumbers, lemons, raspberries) floating on the top. It’s a natural and healthy way to sweeten the water! You can also freeze little chunks of fruit ahead of time and use them as fruity ice in the water!
3. GET CREATIVE WITH DECOR
Have fun with decorations that use natural elements instead of paper products full of dyes. Edible decorations are always a great idea. Some ideas include fruit flower bouquets and thematic vegetable centerpieces. If you Google these key words, you’ll find hundreds of pictures of arrangements you can copy.
4. MAKE IT EASY TO RECYCLE
Make sure recyclable trash cans are around. In fact, have a little fun with it. Create and attach a sign to the bin that joyfully reminds the kids they’re helping the planet with each arm toss. There are some clever crafts and art pieces that can take full advantage of recyclable “stuff.”
5. REMEMBER – HEALTHY CAN BE TASTY
Provide healthy snacks but have fun with the presentation. If your kids are anything like mine, they determine what to eat based on how it “looks.” Creative snacks can include anything from zucchini fries baked in the oven and soy nuts instead of potato chips, to ants on a log (celery with organic peanut butter), fruit skewers, and smoothie popsicles. If you plan to barbeque, opt for a solar, gas or electric grill instead of a charcoal briquette-fired grill.
Our world includes many passionate and influential environmentalists, and for the average mom, those shoes seem way too big to fill. But, as Monica reminds us, it’s really the little steps we take that can move us very far.