Post by Cheryl, who runs Eco Party Pack Cheltenham
Cheryl joined the Party Kit Network in July 2019 after setting up a party kit in Cheltenham. In 2002 Cheryl became a board member of the Party Kit Network CIC.
She is passionate about finding ways to both reduce waste at parties and make it as easy as possible for people to make more sustainable choices. Cheryl is an active member of the Network and holds the word 'landfill' in our poster below!
Why did I start a party kit?
As a parent you want to give your children the best in life and that also goes for throwing them great parties. We have all been sucked into using disposable as they are cheap, easy to use and you can find pretty much anything to fit a party theme. I was one who got sucked into this. I got Peppa Pig plates, bowls, cups, napkins, tablecloths, balloons and yes even though I said I would keep the tablecloth etc it all ended up in the bin afterwards as time to get out of the hall was drawing near and stress levels were high.
I have always been an avid recycler, binning everything at the end of the party just depressed me. The following year I still wanted to do a theme but wanted much less waste. I searched online for ages to see if I could hire child-friendly tableware but all that I could find were companies that supply weddings and functions which was just to expensive and just wouldn’t work with young children as its pretty much a certainty that something would get broken.
In the end, I had to cave and once again use plastic for my theme along with borrowing platters from a friend as I really disliked the look of disposable silver foil platters. I wish I had been more confident at the time to think about it more and start my own alternative but working full time and being newly pregnant stopped me going any further. A few years later when I read about a school hiring out party packs to raise money it really struck a chord with me; one that I just could not shake.
Starting my sustainable living journey
I had started my own eco-friendly drive in my own home and wanted a platform to share what I had learnt and was still learning with others. Hiring out partyware was, in a sense, a way to do this. I debated with myself for months on if I was capable of starting my own small business as I was looking for a job which would pay the bills and knew that this would be more of a venture that was a passion than something I could make a living out of. After months I still couldn’t shake the idea so decided to press ahead and jump in with both feet.
I can honestly say that I have learnt more about myself and eco-friendly living in the last few months of running my own business than the last 8 years since having children. I have even incorporated some of what I have learnt into my business.
Doing more to reduce waste
I took a workshop on eco-bricking and enjoyed it so much decided to add it onto my business. It seemed a no brainer to me. My aim was to reduce waste going to landfill, taking the party rubbish and sorting through it to take out items that can be recycled and plastic items that can be eco-bricked means even less gets sent to landfill. It’s still a work in progress but I have never been more passionate about the work that I do and still dream that it can be my full time paying job and still be able to make an environmental impact along with giving back to the local community while making clients happier (and calmer!) through the work that I do.
If Cheryl's story has inspired you to set up your own party kit, download our Getting Started Guide
All images are copyright of Eco Party Pack Cheltenham or the Party Kit Network and used with permission.