Tag Archives: green classroom party

How to green up your classroom party

Tis the season for classroom parties and the volunteer positions are filling up. It’s easy to hit the dollar store or the party aisle at your local grocery store but with just a little planning, and a bit of effort we can save a classroom’s worth of party detritus from going to the landfill. It’s not always simple to choose reusable items over disposable, but it’s simpler than an entire society trying to figure out what to do with all its garbage. I encourage you this year to take a few minutes to think green when you are planning your holiday party and choose reusable where and when you can.

  • Cover the tables with table cloths, fabric pieces or drop cloths. Simply wash the cloths after the party. Skip the disposable plastic table cloths as that is a lot of garbage for just one party. Austin Creative Reuse has vinyl banners, bolts of different fabrics and other things that can be made into table coverings.
  • Use real cutlery. Pretty much everyone has a dishwasher. It’s just as easy to gather up all the silverware and throw it in a bag to be brought home for washing as it is to throw it away. Don’t have enough? Hit the thrift store for a party pack of used silverware.
  • Use real plates! Seriously, it’s not that much harder than using disposable. Find some reusable melamine or small plastic dishes at the thrift store that can be used as regular party plates or have everyone BYOP. Choose a color theme or have the theme of randomness! Want to make it schoolwide? Create a party pack which can be checked out by teachers for classroom parties.
  • Having a big school wide party? Ask attendees to bring their own plates and cutlery. Bring it in a plastic bag so that it can be brought home dirty. To make this even more palatable, offer guests a rinsing station so they can rinse their plates before packing them up to take home.
  • Make the decorations things you can reuse. Skip the paper streamers and hang some ribbon and ornaments instead. Make the décor part of the activities and watch it grow as the party continues. Simply hang string or ribbon around the perimeter of the room and using tiny binder clips or clothespins, clip on origami, paper snowflakes made from the recycling bin, photos, ornaments or whatever other item you create. Pop into Austin Creative Reuse party section for lots of décor ideas and even some used decorations  from classroom parties past!
  • Serving food? Again, the thrift stores are loaded with the serving vessels you need. Real cake stands, trays, baskets and platters can be found for the same price or less than disposable ones. Don’t want to keep them? Simply wash and return to the thrift store when finished. Austin Creative Reuse has plenty of baskets and other large serving platters as well.
  • Serving drinks? Use a large water cooler and fill it with the beverage of your choice. Skip the juice boxes or water bottles and opt for reusable/washable cups instead. Find cups at the thrift store or even buy a sleeve of new reusable cups for the classroom at the beginning of the year. Let each kid decorate their own cup with permanent markers or paint. For schoolwide events, offer a commemorative cup to be purchased and used at each event.

Austin Creative Reuse Center is a great place to look for supplies and tools for your next classroom party. Come for traditional items such as streamers and plates or expand your decor with the many non-traditional items available. Need some ideas? Just ask the employees, volunteers or even your fellow shoppers!

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