Plastic party bags should get stuffed

Thursday 28th of March 2013

POSTED BY: Gabrielle Grime, Earth Carers Coordinator


We’ve reached the stage in our family life of the birthday party circuit, and I want to ask: what’s up with this trend of giving out plastic party bags?

Contents of party bag

There’s already so much unnecessary ‘stuff’ (and stress) that seems to be attached to kids birthday parties: choosing the appropriate present, the decorations, the games, the gifts for game winners and (“good try” consolations)...

But plastic party bags in particular gets my goat. Not only do I have a sugar-infused mad child to deal with at the party’s end, these darned bags generally have more sweets (in plastic packaging) that will give her another sugar rush, OR there are tacky plastic toys which break in a heartbeat, get lost, hurt like hell when you unwittingly stand on them (causing another round of upset) or are a choking hazard.

Plastic party bag = hyper, screaming, gagging daughter, and parent with bruising.

OK so I may be exaggerating a bit, but really. Why do we even need these bags? I think it’s some kind of consumerist insecurity that we are passing onto our children – that we can only ever be happy if we’ve been somewhere and got ‘stuff’ to mark that experience.  And the fact that so often the party bags are filled with rubbish food and plastic junk which will be binned (or become litter) is even worse.

kids party bags grown up bags

I reckon it's time we draw a line in the sandpit.

There are so many great ways to throw a kid’s party which doesn’t have to be about the stuff, but instead is all about the experience of having fun and sharing great times together.

We need to be having conversations about this with our friends and family. I have started to, and been surprised how passionate other people are about this, and keen to cut the excess.

I’m not suggesting that we discard the exciting elements expected at parties like decorations and party food, but there are plenty of ways to do this which doesn’t have to mean forking out stacks of cash on disposable party tackola. I’ve listed a few websites for inspiration.

5 Tips for Planning Green Kids Parties

Throwing a kid’s eco-party

The Green Party – simple kid’s birthday ideas

Freda with bunting

This year, our mother’s group is having a collective birthday party in a local park equipped with playground, where we all bring and share food, as well as our own plates and cups. Belonging to the community toy library has meant I can book their ‘party pack’ which has a roller coaster, bubble machine, egg and spoon race, and a whole lot of other fun things (and give it back after). But even without those items, the playground and abundance of trees and grass gives us lots of room to dance, go back to our own childhood games like ‘Freeze’, 'Chasy' and ‘What’s the Time, Mr Wolf’, without being reliant on stuff. And no party bags!

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