Party and Bullshit

A quick spin around Pinterest reveals a party for everything. Invented holidays, foods, a wildly inappropriate Breakfast at Tiffany's themed child's birthday party. I'm still unclear about what a puppy party is. One of the funniest pieces I've read recently is entitled A Day in the Life of Pinterest, which personifies and satirizes the ridiculous level that we now celebrate and document the mundane. Simply revealing your unborn child's gender requires an event planner as well as an unnecessarily narrow definition of gender. And balloons, always balloons. I think I can safely say that this was not a thing before. 


My issue is not actually with the themes, or even the shilling of the idea that every milestone needs to be thematic and curated, branded by the hot iron of social media. I, myself, am guilty of this. My issue lies with the overzealous waste of the party industry (including blogs and DIYers). All I can think about when I see the confettied confections of of the glitterati is, What do they do with all of this stuff they make?! The balloons, the favors, the backdrops. Does it all go straight to the landfill or do they have a storage room the size of my apartment? I can only hope they reuse it every time someone ventures to eat a soft pretzel snack. Wait! Don't eat that pretzel with a regular napkin! Obviously, I have pretzel-themed napkins for the occasion.


So what about that waste? Paper is the most biodegradable material, so let's set aside the paper products — although they are also problematic in that most are probably not made from recycled paper, are not recycled, and never needed to exist to begin with. Say we just focus on the plastic. The unrelenting, unnecessary use of plastic. You would think that the people constantly having parties would own real dishware and flatware. Instead, they add glitter just to be sure those plastic cups are completely un-recyclable.


Then there are the balloons. The silver ones, actually made out of plastic, and the latex ones that may as well be for how "biodegradable" they truly are. According to Ocean Crusaders, those color-coordinated ribbons entangle marine animals while the balloons can be mistaken as food, causing intestinal blockage and death. Death by balloon, how festive. See the Balloons Blow photo gallery for all the shiny evidence. 


I know what you're thinking. Get a grip, it's just a little fun! A bit of stress relief by way of spray glue fumes. But the earth is literally melting down, and the conventional party industry is only adding to our environmental problems. Is it the biggest problem? No, of course not. But if the saying "every little bit helps" is true, then the flip side is every little bit hurts. The solution isn't even to stop the party; just stop the bullshit. Go on and celebrate your puppy — or getting a puppy? Your child is a puppy? I still don't know! Just use real dishware and flatware, recycled paper, compostable decorations, and lay off the damn plastic. Have a cradle to cradle mentality and think about the end-of-life waste of these umpteen celebrations. 

If the party industry isn't interested in these alternatives, I humbly suggest a new theme for this wasteful outlet: climate change. 


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