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Events and celebrations

From festive get-togethers to parties, switching from balloons and other single-use plastic decorations and supplies to reusable alternatives means we can also celebrate our positive environmental impact.

What you can do

Switch to popular plastic free alternatives for celebrations and functions.

How you can do it

Have your cake and eat it too by getting creative with plastic free party ideas. Many people are switching to reusable decorations. Popular options include colourful bunting, tissue pom poms, handmade festive bon-bons and paper lanterns.  

Friends and neighbours can be a wonderful source for reusable decorations. Before shopping for party items, put the word out to see what you can borrow. Some communities even have a party box for locals to contribute to and share.

‘Buy Nothing’ and local ‘Freebies’ social media pages are a great resource for seeking out party and function supplies. After your celebration, why not ‘keep the party going’ by offering the supplies back to others.

Consider sourcing partyware from your local recycle centre. Plastic Free July participants tell us they have sourced many of their catering needs including glassware, bowls, table covers and fancy-dress costumes. Once the function is over, they often re-donate the items.

Taking the next steps

We love being inspired by alternatives to other single-use plastic party items. Please share your favourite switches on our Plastic Free July Facebook or Instagram pages. Here are some of our favourites:

  •   Swapping glitter for confetti made out of dried leaves.
  •   Old-fashioned party fun with egg and spoon races, three-legged races, sack races and pass-the-parcel using reusable fabric such as tea towels and pillow cases.
  •   Decorating tables with sprigs of greenery from the garden and beeswax candles in reusable jars.
  •   Choosing paper lolly bags with treats sourced from a bulk food store.
  •   Making homemade gifts including potted plants, playdough or baked treats.
  •   Choosing  to refuse single-use plastic water bottles by filling a water jug or dispenser from the tap.
  •   Opting for paper straws (or reusable ones made from metal, glass, or bamboo for adult gatherings) or skipping the straws altogether.

Consider joining other community champions by putting pressure on legislators to impose balloon bans. Adding your voice to a local campaign group or starting a petition at your school, workplace or club is a popular starting point.

The impact

  • What goes up, must come down. Balloons (even “biodegradable” latex balloons) and glitter create plastic pollution that is easily blown into drains, rivers and our ocean where it remains in the environment forever.
  • Our precious wildlife can mistake balloons and plastic trinkets for food; they are a choking hazard for animals and small children too.
  • Avoiding helium helps preserve this precious, non-renewable, scientific and medical resource.

More ideas

What others do

Glass of lemonade, bunch of straws and a plastic juice bottle

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

Reusable carry bag, keep cups and bamboo cutlery
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