It must be baby season, because it feels like tons of my girlfriends are expecting right now, and that means lots of baby showers!
We just threw a shower for one of my closest friends here in Atlanta, and I feel really lucky that the folks planning this shindig with me share my feelings about waste. At every step, we did our best to make sure that we threw a party with minimal waste but that was also beautiful and fun for everyone involved.
From the food to the decor and even the activities, planning a baby shower can come with a lot of waste. We want to make a sustainable world for these wee ones to live in, so why not start by planning a shower that’s in line with your environmental philosophy, right? Here are some ways that you can plan a baby shower that’s as green as it is fun!
>>Next: Choose sustainable eats
You can’t have a baby shower without tasty food and drinks! For my friend’s shower, we went with a brunch-style buffet and a mocktail bar.
Each of the planners brought a dish or two to share, and we focused on local, organic, and vegan eats. Here’s a sampling of what we served:
- Za’atar bread, cut into pieces
- Orange marmalade vegan thumbprint cookies
- Fava bean hummus with pita and local veggies for dipping
- Savory shortbread
For the mocktail bar, we put out sparkling water, juices, and a couple of homemade simple syrups, so our expecting mama and our guests could mix up tasty concoctions that were booze-free! You can fancy things up even more by putting out organic citrus slices and berries that folks can drop into their drinks. Yum!
>>Next: Picking dishes
Image Credit: Photo by Becky Striepe
Of course, even with a buffet, you need some small plates, utensils, cups, and napkins. We went with a mix of reusable and compostable dishware for our party.
We used reusable glasses for the mocktail bar, but if you don’t want to worry about washing dishes at the end of your baby shower, you can go with compostable cups or even look for edible cups to use.
Everyone who brought a dish used their own serving container and brought their own, reusable serving utensils. That not only cut back on waste but it meant no one person got saddled with washing all of the serving dishes. Who says eco-friendly can’t be easy?
If you have enough reusable plates and utensils, by all means go for it! We didn’t have service for 30, so we picked up compostable plates that you can compost in your back yard bin. Not all compostables will break down in a home compost heap, so it’s important that when you’re choosing compostable dishes to make sure they don’t have to go to a municipal facility, unless your town has curbside composting.
The one problem with compostable dishes is that not everyone knows what to do with them. They don’t do the planet much good if they end up in the landfill! To fix this problem, I hid all of my trash cans. We put out a couple of bins to collect recyclables and lots and lots of brown bags for the compost and made clear signs for every bin. Hiding the trash cans is key, just make sure there are a handful of folks who know what to do with trash, so they can help the other guests out.
>>Next: Decorate in green
Party decorations from the big box store are not so hot for the planet. They’re usually made in far-off factories and meant to be used just once and then tossed. Boo on that! Cut flowers are no environmental picnic, either, so we skipped those for our baby shower shenanigans.
We had our party in my back yard under the pop up tent that I used to use for craft markets and kept things very simple for the decorations. I whipped up a big batch of recycled felt streamers, which we hung all around the tent to add a bit of color. My friend Kip made streamers out of old magazine pages that looked just lovely!
You can also dip into your fabric stash and make reclaimed fabric bunting that will last you for many parties to come.
Instead of vases of flowers, my husband spent the afternoon before the shower planting small pots of flowers that we scattered around. They added the same pop of color that cut flowers do, but instead of tossing them after just a few days, they’re still beautifying our garden! You can even give these out as party favors, if you like.
>>Next: Eco-friendly activities
Image Credit: Photo by Becky Striepe
It wouldn’t be a proper baby shower without some kind of activity, right?
For our eco-friendly baby shower, we set up a station where folks could decorate pages to make their own ABC book. Yes, this does require some new paper, but you can use old magazines and books to make collages, and you’re not tossing that paper at the end–you’re creating a keepsake that the family will hold onto! You can also choose recycled or FSC-certified paper to make this project even greener.
A craft project that I wanted to do, but that we weren’t able to plan, was onesie making. If you want to green up a onesie-making station, be sure the blanks you put out are organic (there are organic onesies on Amazon, if you can’t find them locally). Instead of store-bought decorations, put out fabric glue, fabric scissors, and organic or scrap fabric and recycled felt. Your guests can cut out whatever designs they like and glue them on to the onesies. It’s also a good idea to have some scrap cardboard around to stick inside of the onesies before anyone glues. The cardboard will keep the glue from seeping through to the back of the onesie. You might also include some stencils, so the less artistic guests will have a jumping off point.
Have any of you guys gotten to plan a baby shower lately? What did you do to keep it green?