Less Waste Party

Today we celebrated Thomas’s 2nd Birthday!! Our norm for decorations include balloons, streamers, plastic “Happy Birthday” signs, and all that hung up with tape. Presents usually wrapped or put into gift bags packed with tissue paper.

Though, I have not bought a gift bag for years! The amount we get from family and friends is enough to keep reusing for years!! Two or three years ago I took all the gift bags and split them up between family, just to get rid of them. So many!! I am almost at that point again!

Tissue paper is bought every couple of years, we also save those from family and friends to reuse.

Plastic or paper cups and utensils were commonly purchased. Sometimes a plastic table cloth was used too, once, then thrown out.

Streamers are always used for Birthdays.

Balloons are an all time favourite! The kids love them! Have to admit, they are fun to bounce around!! Enjoyment for hours and days!

Though, this year is different! Our family is on a new journey. Zero waste!

To replace the balloons, I made paper fans from construction paper. I found a recipe for homemade glue (thanks for the tip from a friend in a group I follow). This is the recipe. Though, I take some cold water and mix the dry ingredients in first before adding to the boiling water. No lumps! I store it in a jar and use a paintbrush to apply.

My process includes taking a sheet of paper, what ever size, and make your first fold for the fan. Unfold and add a bit of glue and press it firmly back down.

  • Flip the paper over as you would to continue the fan and add glue to where the paper folds down. Continue until the whole paper is folded.
  • Note: put the glue in the centre, not all along the strip.
  • Next, add glue all along one whole side and fold in half.
  • I like to slightly sit on this piece to make sure it holds together good! Optional.
  • Repeat 2 more times until you have 3 fans.
  • Glue each fan to one another, firmly pressing them together.
  • Once they are together you will have a circular decoration!
  • I sewed some thread to secure a line to hand up. I hung mine on curtain rods.

Yes, streamers are compostable, but they still come wrapped in plastic. I want and can avoid that by making my own kind. FYI, the construction paper I am using came without any wrapping and is the biggest stack I could find. 250 sheets I believe. I also have too many scrap book paper that could get used. Some nice prints there to add some flare!

  • My process for my streamers is to take a number and colours of paper stacked together. I liked using all the colours. But any choice is good for any theme!
  • Once the paper is stacked, cut a circle keeping the papers together.
  • Next, cut a continuous circular line starting outide and work your way in.
  • The bigger the circle and thinner cutting, the longer and more twisty the streamer.
  • A small circle will result in a short streamer.
  • Next, I take the ends that were started with and added some glue to them.
  • I put some glue on the wall/door frame/cupboards and stick the streamer ends to it.
  • With the paint brush I added some more glue to make sure they got coated good!
  • Press with your finger so there is good contact between the surface and paper.
  • Continue until house is decorated!!

Our plastic “Happy Birthday” signs are not going to waste. They are still in good condition even though they are almost 10 years old! I thought there must be another way to put them up besides tape. I already knew what to do! Homemade glue!

I cut off the edges that held 9 years worth of tape (pretty thick!). I added a thin layer of glue to the back two sides and they stuck to wall without a problem!! I was pleased!!

Again, we reused gift bags and tissue paper, though the paper was coming to the end of its use. Thats okay compostable (I just checked!).

I did not give myself time to look for good used toys or clothes. He really already has everything he needs! We did buy some of those items. I’m not too worried about it though! Small steps forward.

I did make the birthday cake. Most times I do. Though, for some reason, I cannot get the icing right. The Betty Crocker pre-maid store bought icing is hard to beat!! This time round, I tried the Bulk Barn kind. Pretty good. Rich. Maybe too much. I will continue looking for the right recipe! Also, I bought a can of decorating icing. Not plastic tube, can! I need to get a good icing decorating kit. Not a cheap plasticky one. Been there, done that. Two uses and it broke.

Our 3 year old, soon to be 4, requested the cake to be decorated like this! Quite the planner!!

Also, no plastic or paper plates, nor cups. Just our home items. Usually parties have those items, but not this weekend coming. Yes, we got a family party to get ready for, and I will be aiming for a less waste one again! Though, I do have some paper plates that could get used, I’m not sure if I have enough plates for everyone. I guess time will tell! Also cloth table cloths will be used! No more plastic ones!

Thomas’s Birthday waste included this. Also a couple plastic links from clothing, and a plastic ring. 8 waste items total.

I already did a test the other day and confirmed it again this evening concerning the homemade glue on the walls and such. Yes it does wash off. Hot soapy water. No problem at all!!

We have 4 more kids Birthdays coming between now and April, and parties. I’m looking forward to finding more DIY decorations ! I would like to find something that will last longer than the paper. Construction paper will rip and tangle and loose colour overtime, quickly. Small steps!

Thinking for the future: cloth wrapping.


Red, orange and black paper, stain white background when glue was applied. A simple rub with baking soda and water paste cleaned it though leaving a slight stain. Masking tape is a great alternative, and is compostable on Prince Edward Island.

No more buying plastic/paper plates, cups or utensils. Just using what we have, and washing a few dishes if needed during the party. Not a big problem! If anything, shopping second hand for some more items is a great idea!

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