Tiny Trash Can zero waste birthday party cake

Zero waste birthday party

Yesterday I threw my first zero waste birthday party for my son who just turned 9. The party was a huge success with no one noticing what was missing—an overflowing trash can. Here’s how we pulled off a zero waste, science-themed birthday party:


We invited his three closest friends by simply texting the parents—no paper invitations or envelopes needed. We informed them of the date and time and let them know upfront we were planning a zero waste celebration. We told them no gifts were necessary, but if they felt compelled to offer something, secondhand toys/books or experiences would do.

Tiny Trash Can zero waste birthday party


We didn’t put up any balloons or streamers. The only decoration was a paper sign on the front door that set the tone for our science-themed celebration.

Tiny Trash Can zero waste birthday party


I set out package-free veggies (cucumber, carrots, celery, apples and kale chips) for kids to nibble on until lunch time. To keep things easy, we had cheese pizzas delivered from our favorite takeout joint. For afternoon snacks, I put out bowls of bulk snacks from Bulk Barn. I baked his birthday cake from scratch the night before using bulk ingredients and homemade butter. Everything was served on real plates with real silverware and cloth napkins. Drinks were served in sturdy, handled mason jars I bought at my neighbor’s garage sale.

Tiny Trash Can zero waste birthday party


I organized three science-related activities for the kids:

  1. Molecule construction with bulk gum drops and wooden toothpicks
  2. Frankenworms with bulk gummy worms, vinegar, baking soda and water
  3. Fluffy slime with supplies we already had then packed the slime in mason jars as a souvenir. Bonus: As the kids stuffed their slime in mason jars, we discovered the fluffy slime made fart noises! 🤣

Tiny Trash Can zero waste birthday party


All our friends complied with our wishes for zero waste gifts. Along with three handmade cards with heartfelt messages from his friends, he also got movie tickets, a future outing to a dinosaur museum, bulk candies and a $20 bill! All these thoughtful gifts arrived with no boxes or wrapping paper.

Tiny Trash Can zero waste birthday party

The kids had a blast, and cleanup afterward was a cinch. My son and I were both elated that hardly any trash was created 😀

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