Whether it’s a small gathering or a blow-out party, you’ll want to make the event a memorable one. Instead of opting for disposable decorations, make your party a sustainable one with these eight ideas for eco-friendly party decorations.
Table of Contents
- General Tips for Eco-Friendly Party Decorations
- Potted Flowers or Plants
- Vintage and Second-Hand Linens
- Eco-Friendly Candles, Lanterns, and Holders
- Solar LED Lighting
- Pinwheels, Pinatas, and Pom Poms!
- Bunting and Banners
- “Green” Confetti (Comes in Other Colors, Too)
General Tips for Eco-Friendly Party Decorations
Whatever the size of your party or event, these tips for eco-friendly party decorations will also make it planet-friendly.
- Reuse. Instead of disposable decorations, buy or make reusable alternatives.
- DIY. If you have time, try your hand at making some of your decorations. I offer DIY options below.
- Keep waste to a minimum, by reusing decorations, making your own, or buying products with minimal packaging.
- Go natural, using organic and natural elements, such as pinecones, pebbles, seashells. and potted plants and flowers.
- Shop local to reduce the carbon footprint of your purchases, and from eco-friendly sources.
- Rent it. Instead of buying new linens and decorations, consider renting from a party rental store. For large events, it can be more economical than purchasing everything new.
- Avoid using balloons, which pose a serious threat to the environment and wildlife.
- Avoid using materials that can’t biodegrade, such as plastic and glitter.
Potted Flowers or Plants
Potted, live plants (instead of cut flowers) are a beautiful and natural way to decorate your event. Depending on the size and shape of your table(s), place one or more as centerpieces, mixing different heights and shapes.
Add a fragrant touch using plants and herbs with a mild scent, such as lavender or rosemary. For an added enhancement, hang decorative objects, tie garlands, or wrap arrangments with mini string lights.
Reuse plants for future gatherings or even given them away at the end of the event as natural party favors.
Purchased. If you’re not making your own pots, support your community’s businesses by shopping locally. The Slow Flowers directory will help locate businesses that are committed to using American-grown flowers.
To be frank, finding eco-friendly e-florists is difficult since the carbon footprint of growing and delivering floral and plant products is high. To help guide you, look for accredited certification seals, such as Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance, and these online sites offer beautiful products that are sustainably sourced:
- Bouqs partners with eco-friendly farms that minimize waste, recycle water, and use sustainable growing practices. Their wide selection of potted plants and flowers is available for nationwide delivery.
- Urbanstems works directly with Rainforest Alliance Certified farms and invests in the people who work there. They offer a variety of beautiful potted plants, some in whimsical, reusable containers.
Vintage and Second-Hand Linens
Instead of buying new linens to decorate your table and party space, visit your local thrift shop or second-hand store to see whether they have pretty vintage linens. Estate sales, online or local, are also a terrific place to browse for unique linens.
Eco-Friendly Candles, Lanterns, and Holders
Nothing sets the mood better — inside or out — than candles. They’re also a relatively inexpensive way to decorate your party. Avoid paraffin-based wax candles in favor of natural ingredients, such as soy, beeswax, or coconut wax. Even better, try your hand at making your own candles!
For candleholders, pretty drinking glasses, mason jars, plates, or trays will work. If you’re crafty, make your own.
- Taper Candles from Big Dipper Wax Works are handmade with 100% beeswax. They come in two sizes and multiple colors. A discount is applied for bulk purchases.
- Pillar Candles. Both AllieBeeCandleCo and Big Dipper Wax Works carry assorted sizes, shapes, and colors. Bear Natural Organics offers white, unscented soy wax pillars in different sizes, including a large 3-wick pillar that will burn long after your party!
- Votives and Tealights. For vegan soy tealights, try Bear Natural Organics’ 20-pack. Bluecorn Beeswax carries pure beeswax votives in natural and black colors. Custom glass votive holders are sold separately.
- Numbered Birthday Candles from AllieBeeCandleCo are handmade with 100% pure beeswax.
- Floating Candles from beEsom are handmade with 100% beeswax. Set of 6 mini heart beeswax candles.
- Holiday-Themed Shaped Candles. AllieBeeCandleCo’s holiday-themed candles are perfect for your holiday event. Shapes include different sized spruce trees, angel, “Old Man Winter,” Christmas Snowflake pillar, and intricately carved egg,
Lanterns and Candle Holders
- Hanging Tea Light Holders. I love these glass teardrop holders that can be used for tealights or greenery.
- Bulk Glass Tealight Holders. If you have space, buy bulk and reuse your holders for all occasions. These simple glass round ones are timeless or try square holders for a more contemporary feel.
- Paper Sky Lanterns. Try these 100% biodegradable handmade sky lanterns made from rice paper and bamboo. They come in an assortment of different colors.
Solar LED Lighting
For outdoor entertaining, solar lighting is a sustainable way to set the mood.
- Glass Lanterns. Allsop brand handblown glass lanterns come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
- Decorative Metal Hanging Lanterns. To set the mood, try this lantern from OxyLED, which casts a beautiful woodland shadow, or Moroccan-themed globe lanterns from TAKE ME.
- Teak LED Solar Lantern. These teak solar lanterns from Les Jardins feature rechargeable solar LED panels to light the fixture and two different lighting options that can either be used all day or only when the sun sets.
- Solar Paper Lanterns. These pretty blue and white hanging solar lanterns are suitable for year-round outdoor use and these lace-patterned hanging lanterns can be used in all weather conditions.
- String Lights. These pretty solar string lights are an eco-friendly alternative to the plug-in variety.
Pinwheels, Pinatas, and Pom Poms!
Now that you’ve mastered pinwheels, try your hand at making a pinata!
- Pom Poms. Green Party Goods stocks a wide variety of pom-poms made from biodegradable rice paper and tissue. Choose from simple colored options to vibrant rainbow poms.
- Solar Metal Pinwheels. These colorful metal pinwheels are a festive decorative touch for any occasion and can be reused indefinitely.
Bunting and Banners
DIY. Make your own banner or bunting using fabric scraps or colorful paper. This site, Wonderfuldiy, even shows you how to make no-sew and mini bunting cake topper.
- Handmade paper bunting. Gemmyscloud’s bunting is handmade using eco-paint, kraft card, and jute string. Orders are mailed in 100% recyclable packaging.
- Customizable banner. LinenTouch’s customizable banner is handmade with burlap jute twine, and wooden beads.
- “Seed” bunting and banners. Botanical Paperworks’ banners and buntings are made with seed paper that you can plant after use! Their products come in different patterns and styles, including customizable bunting.
- Bunting flags. AFeteBeckons’ unique bunting flags are handmade with vintage and second-hand cloth.
- Colorful bunting. Talking Tables’ colorful bunting with vibrant hues and floral prints is ideal for your summer party.
- “Congratulations” felt banner. This colorful felt banner can be reused for all those celebratory occasions in your life.
DIY. As a child, I remember making garlands out of paper remnants, but there are other items you can use — just try to use items that are biodegradable, reusable, or even edible. Some ideas include cloth or paper remnants, seashells, pinecones, greenery, berries, popcorn (or both), dried fruit, nuts, small cookies. (Don’t forget to pierce a hole in the top of the dough before baking.)
Purchased. Look for garlands that you can reuse or ones that are made using natural, biodegradable, or recycled materials.
- Wool. North Pole eco garlands are handmade using cruelty-free certified New Zealand wool and unbleached cotton thread. Colored with eco-friendly azo-free dyes.
- Cloth and Felt. Fair Trade offers a unique selection of handmade garlands all made out of hand felting, recycled or sustainable materials.
- Cloth and Paper. Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade site that sells sustainably-made products, carries several garland styles, all handmade and many made from recycled components.
- Tissue. Green Party Goods carries a variety of tissue garlands made from recycled paper. Choose from different styles and colors.
- Greenery. Gracious Garlands, an online greenery boutique, delivers beautiful, sustainably sourced garlands and wreaths year-round. There’s a style to suit any occasion.
“Green” Confetti (Comes in Other Colors, Too)
DIY. Make confetti using old tissue or unlaminated colored paper with different-shaped hole punches. To ensure that your confetti is completely biodegradable, try making it from leaves or other organic matter, such as coconut flakes, fragrant herbs, or floral petals. Avoid rice kernels that can be harmful to wildlife.
Purchased. If the idea of making your own confetti seems too overwhelming (it does for me), try these eco-friendly options:
- Biodegradable Paper. ProperConfetti’s confetti is handmade with colorful biodegradable tissue paper.
- Floral. The Confetti Bar’s Floralfetti contains freeze-dried flower petals and herbs,
- Sprouting Confetti. The Confetti Bar offers Sproutfetti, made from a compostable paper that has wildflower seeds embedded in the paper. If planted, it grows!
- Gender Reveal Confetti. Try SALA’s biodegradable confetti poppers that include non-toxic powder.