Party with a purpose this Plastic Free July!

Hundreds of thousands of birthdays will be celebrated in NSW this month, and with ‘Plastic Free July’ kicking off, we’re challenging every party planner to throw a plastic free and sustainable celebration.

We’re inviting you to shift the way you organise a celebration from the types of decorations used, to how food is served, and how gifts are given.

NSW EPA Executive Director Alexandra Geddes said birthdays are some of the happiest times of the year, but without careful planning, they can also be some of the most wasteful.

“This week alone there will be thousands of birthday celebrations among family and friends and many of these will generate avoidable waste, from single-use plates or cutlery to decorations that often end up straight in the bin,” Ms Geddes said.

“We can all reduce waste at parties by taking easy steps, such as choosing reusable partyware, limiting wrapping paper or using sustainable materials, sending digital invitations, and looking for pre-loved gifts.

"Using reusable cutlery and plates reduce the 800,000 tonnes of plastic waste going to landfill in NSW each year, even if it means a bit more washing up.

“These small actions play a big role in cutting back on waste and help our transition to a circular economy, by shifting away from the churn-and-burn model and promoting reuse instead.”

Plastic Free July is the perfect opportunity for everyone to be the ultimate party host and throw a sustainable event. Here are some creative tips:

  • Opt for reusable tableware: Instead of single-use plates or cutlery, try opting for reusable items like the thick colourful ones easily found at supermarkets. You can also hire sustainable party kits from a local business instead of buying them.
  • Share leftovers: Tell family and friends to bring reusable containers to share your leftovers.
  • Sustainable gifts: Remember your reusable shopping bag while picking up presents and consider pre-loved gift options or experiences. Gifts from charity stores, plant cuttings or old books can be just as popular and help reduce hip-pocket pressures. 
  • Eco-friendly wrapping: Instead of wrapping gifts with disposable paper, try a recycled or reusable option. Fabric is a great alternative that can be reused and will last a lifetime.
  • Smart grocery shopping: Make a list before buying groceries for your celebration to purchase what you need. Check your pantry before you go – you might be surprised at what you already have.

The NSW Government is working on what to do next in the plastic pollution crisis and will release an actions paper for public feedback in the coming months.

Plastic Free July is a global movement encouraging people to refuse single-use plastics. For more information or to sign up for the challenge, visit: