Eco-Friendly, Frugal Party Ideas

by heather

Summer flowers make great eco-friendly decorations

Summer flowers make great eco-friendly decorations...

Ok, so this post might be a little last minute if you’re planning a Memorial Day bash, but since this weekend is the official kick-off of summer, feel free to save it for the 4th of July get togethers, birthdays, and anniversary celebrations you’ll no doubt be planning over the next few months.

When it comes to parties, most people think paper plates, paper towels, soda cans, plastic forks…you see where I’m going. Usually, parties are anything but eco-friendly. Well, I decided to research green and frugal party ideas so that our summer fun didn’t have to be so bad for the environment.

So, put on Blind Melon’s “No Rain” (which, to me, is the song that epitomizes summer), slip on your flip-flops, and let’s dive in…

Want an Eco-Friendly Party? Ditch the Paper…

  • Save money and go green by not using paper plates. Sure, regular plates require more clean up, but get your friends to pitch in and it won’t be so bad. I grew up out in the country, and during get togethers everyone pitches in to help. It’s not only fun, but it loosens everyone up and makes them feel useful.
  • The same eco-friendly tip goes for paper towels. Why not use cloth napkins instead?
  • If you fear for your glass dishes and want to use plastic plates, then look for recycled ones. Preserve Plates are a great option; they’re made from recycled plastic. You can also easily rewash these and use them over and over if you want to maximize their life.
  • You can also check out Green Party Goods for planet-friendly party supplies. They’ve got some really cool, fun stuff there!
  • If you’re having a huge party and think you’re going to run out of plates and cups, don’t go out and buy more. Why not just borrow some? Ask your friends and neighbors if they have tableware you can use the day of.


  • Encourage your guests to carpool if they can.
  • Spend some time researching area car pool lots that guests could meet at. This would cut down on gas for guests that live further apart.

Eco-Friendly Party Decorations and Gifts

  • Just say “no” to balloons. Instead, why not go with paper chinese lanterns? They can be reused multiple times.
  • When it comes to your party invitations, use recycled paper. Or, you can make your own from scrap paper. Think I’m kidding? No way. You’d be amazed at the creative, “made at home” eco friendly party invitations I found online. Case in point: see “How To Make Your Own Greeting Cards From Old Magazines“.
  • If the party happens to be a birthday party, then ask that all gifts be wrapped in newspaper or cloth bags. Wrapping paper is festive, but it’s incredibly wasteful.
  • Skip the themed plastic table cloth. Instead, use an old sheet. And if you want to decorate it and make it fun, then pass out markers to everyone and let them go wild decorating it for you!
  • Buy local. And, this goes for food as well as flowers. Sure, those Birds of Paradise would look divine, but wouldn’t some Gerbera daisies, Black-Eyed Susans and Tiger lilies from your local Farmer’s Market look just as pretty? And, local flowers don’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your door.
  • When it comes to Eco-Style, you can’t go wrong with Danny Seo. He’s my favorite, and his taste is impeccable. He had a great idea for Martha Stewart: find a tray and group several old mason jars and medicine bottles on it. Then, put small flowers in several of the jars. I can’t post the picture due to copyright issues, but you can click here to see it yourself. It’s fabulous!
  • Instead of burning regular wax candles, use beeswax candles.
  • Old mason jars make great candle holders. You can also use them as lanterns, by wrapping thin wire or cord around the opening and suspending them from trees. This creates a very pretty effect at night, when the candles are lit.


  • Make sure that you set up recycling bins around your house or backyard, clearly labeled, so your guests can easily recycle things during the party.
  • If you have a compost pile in your yard (or know someone who does), think about creating a compost bin where everyone can dump their food scraps. This could be as simple as a cardboard box with a plastic bag on the inside. Make sure guests know that only food scraps go in the compost box.
  • If you have a significant amount of leftovers, contact your local food pantry, women’s shelter, or homeless shelter to see if they’d be interested in taking them.

Last Word,..

It doesn’t take that much more effort to plan an eco-friendly party. You’ll feel better when you do, you’ll save money, and you’ll set a good example for your guests!
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» Eco-Friendly, Frugal Party Ideas | The Greenest Dollar
May 22, 2009 at 11:24 am
Eco Friendly Frugal Party Ideas The Greenest Dollar | Outdoor Decor
June 13, 2009 at 4:53 pm


Jan Dering May 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm

What great ideas for greening up your party.
You can off-set the carbon from your guest car jounerys too.
You can also plant a tree to grow as your child grows.

It only takes a few moments to think about our party actions and turn them to the green side!

Namrata June 17, 2009 at 2:01 am

gr8 ideas to st up a party…………………………. that also eco frinedly which is required now a days coz of glabal warming

bekey January 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

i know this is old but do you know what that song is about?? it is not a happy summer song. the dude was an addict, and died of an overdose….

Jessica May 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Good ideas, i’m using this website as a link on my website.

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