Plastic-free party bag ideas

Before we get stuck in to our plastic-free party bag ideas, have you heard of Ailuna? It’s an app and community that helps you make a difference and build more sustainable habits. Download the Ailuna App from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today and start building your habits with impact, alongside a like-minded group of people from around the world.

Now, on to parties! Children’s parties are notorious for generating quite a lot of waste. From non-recyclable wrapping paper to balloons to party blowers and the subject of this post, party bags. Those little gift bags you give to each guest at the end of parties are usually made from plastic, and packed full with plastic-wrapped treats and plastic toys. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve collected some of our favourite plastic-free party bag ideas so you can host a party that’s fun for your child, and kind to the planet.

plastic-free party bags with children excitedly opening them

5 minutes to read

Plastic-free party bag ideas: less waste, no less fun

The party bag is a long-standing tradition at most kids’ parties. I remember going home clutching a flimsy plastic bag full of stuff, that would inevitably break and end up in the bin. These days, people are making much more of an effort to make party gifts more sustainable and durable without taking away the fun and excitement of that end-of-party gift. 

Plastic-free party bag ideas – considering the whole package

When considering how to approach putting together party bags for your child’s next party, thinking about the bag (or container) as well as what goes in them is the perfect way to ensure the least waste possible.

Another idea we love is to design the bags around the activity or theme of the party, so everything ties in. We will go into that in more detail later, so let’s dive straight into our favourite plastic-free party bag ideas and tips.

The party bag itself

There are loads of creative and original ideas for party bags without resorting to plastic. You could go for the simplicity of a paper bag or recycled cardboard box. The ones that are advertised as food boxes make great party favour containers.

If you want to use something a little different, small metal buckets or painted plant pots work really well, especially if you fill the pots with a “grow your own” kit or perhaps some craft supplies.

Speaking of crafts, another plastic-free party bag idea that also doubles as an activity for the party itself is to provide party-goers with a fabric bag and fabric pens to create their own design, or a personalised tin, decorated at the party and filled with goodies to take home.

We also love the idea of using small baskets or wooden boxes, which are perfect for storage once your party attendees get them home.

Finally, one of my favourite ideas combines food and a gift. Instead of buying paper plates and cups for your guests, why not buy them each a reusable water bottle and bento-style lunch box? You can serve the party food in the boxes, then send everyone home with their own, brand new reusable lunch box. Don’t tell anyone, but that means you won’t have to wash them up, either!

Plastic-free party bag filler ideas 

With a little planning and shopping around, it’s possible to put together a lovely, thoughtful party bag filled with nothing but useful, long-lasting and plastic-free items. 

Here are some of our favourite ideas:

  • Reusable water bottle 
  • Bamboo, metal or silicone reusable straw  
  • Wooden toys like spinning tops or a small wooden car
  • Schoolbag tag or keyring
  • Pavement chalk
  • Pair of  socks or gloves (depending on the season) 
  • Mini travel board games or a pack of cards.
  • Small paper bag containing sweets. You could order these in a 1kg bag from somewhere like The Conscious Candy Company, and decant them into smaller bags.
plastic-free party sweet bags


Themed plastic-free party bag ideas

A thoughtfully put-together plastic-free party bag with themed items is a lovely way to send party attendees home with something they will get real joy from. Here are our favourite plastic-free party bag themes:

Journal theme 

Journalling is becoming ever more popular, with children as young as 3 getting involved with reflection and gratitude, or just drawing the things they’ve done in a day as a record to look back on.

Some ideas for journal-themed party bags:

  • A beginner’s journal. For a budget option, a small notepad, personalised with the child’s name is enough to get started. Or for a higher-end choice or very small parties, pre-printed journals like the Happy Self Journal could be a good option.
  • A personalised pen or pencil. We love the selection of sustainable and recycled pens, pencils and notebooks from Remarkable.
  • Stickers. Journals and stickers go hand in hand, so finding some colourful paper stickers and popping them in the bag would be a lovely addition.


Book club party bag theme

Your party could be a great opportunity to encourage your children to start their very first book exchange.

Simply buy a box set of age-appropriate books. Then, give one to each child and encourage them to swap with their friends once they’ve finished. 

Top the party bag off with a personalised bookmark and you’ve got a wonderful, long-lasting gift that also encourages sharing, reusing and a love for books!

Gardener’s dream 

If you like the idea of decorating plant pots as your party activity, this party bag is a fantastic addition. Once your guests have decorated their pots, you can fill them up with a packet of seeds – we love the personalised ones from Ways To Say Thank You. You could also add a small garden tool or pair of child-sized gardening gloves.

Check out our kids’ gardening blog post for more simple projects and gardening ideas with children.

A warm winter evening party bag theme

If your child’s birthday is in the autumn or winter, this cosy plastic-free party bag idea is perfect!

You could add:

  • A personalised mug. If it’s big enough, this could even double as a replacement for the party bag itself.
  • Homemade cookies. Or a cookie mix in a small jar for them to make their own.
  • Hot chocolate kit. This could include chocolate powder, mini marshmallows and some printed instructions for how to make your drink. You don’t need to resort to individual plastic-wrapped hot chocolate powder either. Simply buy a large jar then decant into smaller, recyclable or compostable containers, or mini glass jam jars.


Craft-themed plastic-free party bag ideas

Most children will enjoy a make-your-own or craft kit of some description, so including everything they need to make a creation at home is a great plastic-free party bag filler idea.

Some craft ideas:

  • Decorate your own… The possibilities are endless here, but some ideas include an apron, oven glove, tea towel, pillowcase or fabric party bag!
  • Colouring kit. Including a colouring book, with a box of pencils or crayons. 
  • Origami kit. Folded Square sell responsibly sourced origami paper, which is printed with vegetable-based inks. You could also include a small origami book or some printed instructions for how to create a few different designs.
  • Make your own pompom kit. You could use recycled yarn, or source some wool or yarn from a local charity shop.
  • Friendship bracelet kit.  Including embroidery threads and instructions to follow. There’s no need to include beads with a friendship bracelet kit, but if you do, you can opt for wooden rather than plastic.


Plastic-free party bag ideas – conclusion

We hope this has got you brimming with ideas and inspiration for party bags that will go down a storm at your child’s next party. We’d love to see your photos – please tag us @AilunaCommunity on Instagram and Facebook and we’ll share our favourites.

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