If we’re lucky, we get to celebrate quite a bit of birthdays in our lifetime. In Dutch culture, it is tradition to decorate your home when it’s your birthday. Today I want to talk about a sustainable option when it comes to this: reusable birthday party decorations. Right now, most people use pendulums, balloons and sometimes confetti. The majority of these decorations are not sustainable. They are either disposable, made out of plastic or both. We can do much better.
Some time ago, I finally found a great alternative to all the disposable and plastic party decorations. I found those at HEMA. What I found were paper honeycombs. Honeycombs are decorations that you can fold out, to make a circle. Paper honeycombs are the best alternative I’ve found for balloons. Honeycombs come with any pattern you want, and in any shape you want. I bought two sorts last year. I bought the round ones that you can hang up and one in the form of a cake. You can fold them back in after use and reuse them the next year.
Other reusable birthday party decorations
Besides honeycombs there’s also the option for reusable pendulums. These can also be made out of paper, just like the honeycombs, but another great option are the ones made out of fabric. My personal preference is paper. However, if you can find a secondhand pendulum made out of fabric, that is even better. This way no new resources are needed. When I was searching for reusable birthday party decorations last year I made a mistake: I bought a pendulum out of plastic. That was a mistake. Plastic sucks and we should avoid it where we can.
Why reusable birthday party decorations
I bought these reusable decorations because I was looked for an alternative to the disposable decorations that are available. Most disposable party decorations are made out of plastic. Plastic does not disappear, it only gets smaller. So, the plastic we have today will always be on our planet (unless we burn it, but then we pollute the air). That’s why it’s important to go for compostable alternatives. Paper honeycombs, paper pendulums and pendulums made out of fabric are ultimately compostable and so we leave no waste.
But even more important: they are reusable. This means that we can use them for an entire lifetime. And even after that, we can pass them on to someone else. That’s what we want and need. A circular economy where we leave no waste. This requires us to reuse things.
I went looking for reusable birthday party decorations because I have 13 housemates. We do not decorate someone’s entire room when it’s their birthday, but we only decorate someone’s door. We celebrate quite some birthdays and I was tired of the balloons we kept using. I was kind of in a hurry and it was not supposed to be very expensive because everybody was paying for the alternatives. That’s why I bought things at HEMA. Two round paper honeycombs, one paper honeycomb in the shape of a pie and one pendulum made out of plastic. Both the paper honeycomb in the shape of a pie and the plastic pendulums were a little bit a mistake because they pendulum is made out of plastic and the honeycomb was packed in plastic.
Therefore, when I need more reusable birthday decorations, I would look for other brands. This way it can be 100% plastic-free. That’s also what I would recommend to you. There must be other brands out there, better than HEMA.
However, I am still very happy about this. So far, we’ve saved a lot of plastic decorations. We’ve been using these reusable birthday party decorations for longer than a year now and it’s a succes! It’s progress and that makes me happy. Therefore I think that everyone should use reusable birthday party decorations.