Action 249: Make kids’ party goody-bags sustainable

party toysDate: 06 September
Action: 249
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ LOW


Party bags for children are increasingly expected – but often contain a lot of plastic

Any parent will know that there is a certain amount of pressure on when it comes to kids’ parties – and never more so when it comes to giving all the guests a goody-bag to take home!

Sadly, much of what goes into these bags is made of or wrapped in plastic. Not only is this damaging in itself, but it also sends a poor message to our children about plastic use, consumerism, and waste. The items involved are usually non-sustainable and short lived.

Our action for today is to rethink the children’s goody-bag with an environmental and sustainable slant. Here are few things that could be included:

Contents of your children’s party goody-bag

  • Sweets and chocolate should be limited, and not wrapped in plastic
  • A good example is Smarties, which come in a recyclable/biodegradable tube made from card
  • Traditionally a piece of birthday cake would be included
  • But don’t wrap it in cling film, use a paper napkin or greaseproof paper instead
  • Don’t use plastic toys!
  • Instead, include wooden options such as dice, wooden puzzles, and small wooden toys
  • A popular option is football or character collectors cards and stickers
  • Although many are wrapped in plastic, so take care to avoid that if you can
  • Small colouring books and colouring pencils make nice gifts and stimulate creativity
  • and they are biodegradable or recyclable too
  • Fruit and/or nuts are a healthy and plastic free addition – who doesn’t like a banana!?
  • How about bath bombs (no microplastics though)
  • Maybe add a packet of seeds, or even a seed bomb (no plastic wrapping though)

The bag itself

It should go without saying that a plastic bag shouldn’t be used.

Plain brown paper bags can be decorated with coloured paper and ribbon.

Small cloth bags are perfect and can even be home made from old garments if you have some sewing skills.

Children’s reactions

Children will be less concerned about the inclusion of the latest plastic toys than you might imagine. As long as the contents are colourful, stimulating, varied and (some are) edible they will generally be very happy.

Oh, BTW, most parents too will appreciate fewer small plastic toys around the house!

Children love things that are individually made, that provide stimulation (like the pencils) or that taste good (like cake and bananas!).

If children do ask about the contents of the goody-bag, and why they are a little different to in previous years or bags they might have had at other parties, you can take the opportunity to tell them about plastic pollution and the damage it is doing.

Children are increasingly aware of the plastic pollution problem and taking action themselves. For example, click through to see this interesting BBC story about a ten year old girl who ran a successful campaign about plastic toy freebies in magazines >

Take action

Next time you are planning a kids’ party, think green, and think non-plastic.