How To Plan A Zero Waste Birthday Party: Marie Show Us How #GreenSmurfs

“Green Smurfs” is a track on First Green Step where I shall be sharing inspiring personal stories of people who are practicing sustainable living in their own lives and are a part of the green movement.

This time on “Green Smurfs” meet Marie Didier-Laurent Jaiswal who meticulously planned her 7-year-old son’s birthday party to ensure that it is as low waste as possible.

Zero Waste Birthday Party Football Theme

Marie Jaiswal is a mom from Mumbai who is dedicated to the cause of a sustainable lifestyle. She is a French woman, married to an Indian, and living in Mumbai for the past 5 years. She tries to run a zero waste home and this birthday party was another green feature in her cap. Here are the details of the party in-depth. Hope it helps you throw an eco-friendly party of your own.

Limit The Number Of Guests

Marie decided to invite only the children for the party, mainly friends of her son, which was around 20-25 kids and only her few of her mom friends who helped out.


Location of Zero Waste Birthday Party

The party was at the clubhouse of their residence. Hence no transport, no extra costs!

No Gifts, No Return Gifts Policy

How many of our kids genuinely use their return gifts? In most cases, it is opened with gusto, and discarded within a couple of days to a place where it does not ever see the light.

And imagine a party with 25 kids, that is 25 presents, and not of the birthday boy’s choice. And do they really need that many gifts?

With this line of thinking, Marie decided to have a No Gifts, No Return Gifts Policy at her son’s birthday party. Her son was already familiar with the concept as a couple of other children in their residential complex had previously had no gifts exchanged at their birthdays. (Love that moms are starting such eco-friendly trends!).

Also, she said, “I’ll buy you whatever you want!” (within reasonable limits, ofcourse). An offer which he could not refuse. Also, the grandparents did buy him something special.

Then, for the parents who were uncomfortable with the no gift idea(because they had received gifts at their kids birthdays), Marie offered to collect money and donate it to an NGO on their behalf.


Theme: Football

Here is a classic example on how going zero waste can be a whole lot of fun.

Marie and her son embarked on a DIY project for the football-themed decorations as an after school activity for two whole weeks leading up to the party. What a good amount of mother-son bonding time!

Zero Waste Birthday Party Decor

Presenting the lowdown on the decor.

– No Balloons

– Birthday Banner made from old newspapers

– Football Danglers made from used pizza boxes

Papier Mache Football for Zero Waste Birthday Decor

– Papeir-mache footballs made of old newspapers and then painted on. This was made layer-by-layer over a two-week period as each layer had to dry before they could paste the next one. That’s a lot of dedication, isn’t it?

– Use of homemade glue made of flour and water (recipe). How thrifty!

– Footballers printed on one-side-printed paper brought back by her husband from work completed the look of the hall.

Food: simple, fresh and wholesome

Marie makes her own bread at home with her bread machine. So, simple and yum cheese and tomato sandwiches were on the menu. Homemade pasta with vegetables and idly were the other items that the guests feasted on. Marie reasoned that idly from store bought idly batter had too much packaging. Instead, she got the Idly from a popular South Indian restaurant at her neighbourhood in her own vessels! Remember those days when our parents used to carry a dabba to the restaurant to buy the idly and sambhar?

The kids washed it down with mango shakes made from frozen mango pulp from her own pantry and freshly squeezed lemonade. Yum!

Marie clearly communicated with the other parents that since it was a zero waste party the kids had to carry their own water bottle and napkin. 25 napkins saved!

Also, plates and cutlery was from her own home and the rest borrowed from her friends. This way there was no wastage in the form of single-use cutlery. When did kids care whether all the forks and spoons were of the same colour?

Intending to avoid even the packaging from chocolates, Marie headed to the nearest mall and bought candy from the candy stations in her own containers.

The cake had a little interesting story of it’s own. Marie did not want to risk baking a fancy cake and already had a lot on her hands, decor and food et all and decided to order the cake from a nearby bakery. The owner of the bakery graciously agreed to take back the cake box to reuse. So, the man who delivered the cake, transferred the cake without touching the sides of the box with wonderful precision, and when a small bit smear at the side of the box, he mopped it up with a napkin real quick!

Taking Back The Cake Box Zero Waste Birthday Party

Good job! Take a bow:)


Marie hired an animator, who entertained the kids with a variety of new and interesting games which the kids enjoyed to the maximum. All the kids went back with medals and the winner who scored the most points got a golden cup, all made by Marie and her son with recycled materials from their home!

Best Out Of Waste_ Medals and Cup for Winners

The golden cup is made of a plastic bottle and the medals cut out from curio boxes and attached to colourful ribbons.

Top 3 Tips on how to successfully plan a Zero Waste Birthday Party

Parties these days are an exercise in excesses. Huge backdrops, tons of balloons, presents with a fancy wrappings then popped into gift bags, disposable plates and cutlery and food wasted. Here are Marie’s tips to throw your own a Zero waste birthday party

– Let go of expectations on how a birthday party should be. Redefine the trend.

– Clearly communicate with the guests, the parents, your helpers and the people you source your food from that you are having a zero waste party and what is to be expected.

– Enjoy the process of creating and innovating with your kids. Get them involved in planning and executing your ideas.

Wasn’t that a wonderful way to party?

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Images Source: Marie Didier-Laurent Jaiswal

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