Throwing a kids’ birthday bash can sometimes feel like an exercise in destroying the planet: all those paper invitations, balloons and one-hit-wonder plastic bag toys are enough to make any self-respecting eco-parent despair. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Happily, there are some great alternatives that are every bit as fun. By Kate Farr
There’s no party without guests, but how to get the word out without using swathes of glossy, non-recyclable paper invitations? Two Presents is an extremely smart party concept that not only handles all your invitations and RSVPs electronically, but also cuts waste, reduces present-buying hassle for your guests, and swerves any potential gift-disappointment, all the while benefitting a charity of your child’s choice. You simply set up an account and send out e-invites, and guests opt to send money in lieu of a gift. This pot is then split in two, with one part going to the birthday boy or girl to spend how they like, while the other part is donated to charity. Ingenious, eco-friendly and ethical.
For more information and to register visit twopresents.com
OK, so you have your gaggle of guests confirmed, but you can’t face a classroom of kids in your Hong Kong-sized apartment. Get them out of the house (and out of your hair) with these awesomely active eco-party ideas.
Less physically active, but every bit as worthwhile, a Hong Kong Dolphinwatch tour is the perfect way for budding ocean adventurers to learn more about our indigenous sea life and how best to conserve it. Lantau’s now-endangered pink dolphin population can be viewed from onboard a private charter that accommodates up to 56 guests, while smaller parties can join the regular scheduled trips that run each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. All profits go directly back into dolphin conservation, so you can be sure you’re spending your money wisely
Whole-boat charters cost $9,000 per half-day and $11,000 for whole day use on weekdays, with different pricing for weekend and public holiday charters. Scheduled sailing tickets cost $420 per adult, $210 per child aged 3-11 and $50 for under-threes. hkdolphinwatch.com
Hong Kong’s beaches are positively drowning under a tidal wave of trash, meaning that sadly, you’re more likely to find cans than crabs in our rock pools. Make your party part of the solution (and work up an appetite for cake) by participating in a beach clean with Hong Kong Cleanup. Running from September through to November, the annual Cleanup Challenge is the perfect event to encourage youngsters to be aware of their eco-footprint, and is a surprisingly fun way to spend a day. Encourage healthy competition by offering prizes for the first to fill their bags
Costs $100 per person, with funds going to Hong Kong Cleanup and The Nature Conservancy. For more information visit hkcleanup.org
Bag It Up
All your little guests have had a great time and eaten their fill. It’s time to send them on their merry way with some thoughtful favours to remind them of their day of fun.
Smart, practical and cute, this reusable cutlery kit supports Plastic Free Seas, who aim to educate people on the use of plastic and its damaging effects on the environment. Each portable kit contains a stainless steel spoon, fork, straw and chopsticks, along with a nifty cleaning brush, and is packaged up in a pouch made from recycled plastic bottles. Ideal for school bags, this is a take-home that they’ll actually want to use
$110 from plasticfreeseas.bigcartel.com
Get them committed to composting in the most fun way possible with this worm farm kit from Seedling. The wooden box contains everything you need: a water sprayer, wooden hand tools and gardening gloves and comes with full instructions to keep their new wriggly pets happy and productive.
$129 from seedling.com.hk
The typical sugar-, salt- and palm oil-filled “treats” dished out at parties are problematic, not just in terms of health and potential allergy risks, but also for the environment. Skip the junk in favour of delicious (and surprisingly indulgent) options that are kinder to teeth, tummies… and the planet too.
Wild Mylk is a dairy and gluten-free ice cream made by hand right here in Hong Kong using fresh seasonal ingredients… and naturally it tastes awesome too. Their “ice cream socials” are designed just for events and include one, two or three flavours, packaged either in individual paper cups with wooden spoons or, for a more eco-conscious bash, in reusable pint containers with scoops provided. Wild Mylk will whip you up a custom flavour, deliver it to your venue and then collect any empties afterwards.
Costs vary according to quantity and flavours required. For more information visit wildmylk.com.
Unless you’re planning on eating it all (tempting), you’re definitely going to need plates for that Shopkins/Octonauts/princess-themed cake. Keep it eco-friendly with this fab range by Tropical Fiesta, available from Partytime. Inspired by Mexican street food, these sustainably sourced birch wood trays are designed to sit comfortably in the palm of your hand and come with matching cutlery for maximum coordination points
Trays cost $76 and cutlery set $75 from Partytime, Shop 225, 2/F Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Rd., Central, 2190-4032, partytime.com.hk.
A party’s not a party without cake. If you’re searching for cruelty-free baked goods for your little animal-lover, The Cakery offers egg and dairy-free cakes that are sweetened with honey (vegans can substitute according to preference). It offers a range of naked or fondant-covered cakes and can work with your theme to create a stunning centrepiece for your kiddo’s big day.
Naked cakes cost from $800 and fondant cakes from $1,000. For more information visit thecakeryhk.com