"Boy or girl" cake for gender reveal party

Sustainability-focused parents are just as excited about whether they’re having a boy or girl as any other parents. They want to share their big news with the people they love. But how do you bring in the pizzazz without irritating the environment?

Throw a sustainable shindig with a no-waste gender reveal party. Here are the secrets to throwing a gender reveal shindig that would put Gwyneth Paltrow to shame.

Prepping for a Sustainable Gender Reveal Party

  • Send green invites: Modern etiquette says email invites are a-OK, says Andrea Fowler, entertainment editor for The Bash, a party-planning website in the New York City area. But if you gotta have snail mail, choose eco-friendly invitations from a place like Paper Culture, which plants a tree for every order while also using recycled materials and wood alternatives.
  • Buy local: Shop local for as much as you can, from food to decorations, to cut down on shipping and packaging materials as well as CO2 emissions from travel, says Fowler.
  • Know what you want: If your gender reveal party is doubling as your baby shower, people will bring gifts, and they’ll want to know what’s on your wish list. Create a registry to let folks know which eco-friendly items are appreciated — like cloth diapers, organic burp cloths, and zero-waste skincare products — but include the option to make a donation to an environmental fund in lieu of a present. No wrapping paper necessary!

Time to No-Waste Party!

  • Skip the single-use stuff: It’s easy to hit the party store and stock up on pink and blue plastic utensils, plates, and straws for your gender reveal party. Instead, choose biodegradable plates and cutlery. You could even choose reusable bento boxes or ECOlunchbox stainless steel meal trays that can double as party food vessels and party favors for your guests. The most sustainable way to stock your shindig? Rent your dinnerware and cutlery or host your event at a restaurant that already has everything you need, says Fowler.
  • Be thoughtful about fillers: There are so many ways to do the actual gender reveal: smoke cannons, candy-filled cakes, confetti-filled balloons. Clearly, some are more environmentally friendly than others (think recyclable paper confetti). Glitter-filled balloons are fun, but bad for the environment. If you want some sparkle while being sustainable, get to celebrating with biodegradable glitter from Today Glitter. But skip the balloons and fill jumbo biodegradable straws or mini confetti cones with this glitter made of eucalyptus cellulose core — it’s customizable for size and shiny color. Pink or blue, of course.
  • Choose sustainable decorations: “Think about reusable décor that’s easy to store,” says Fowler. “Choose a banner that’s colorful and fun but without words, so it can be used for any occasion. String lights and candles both help craft an enchanting ambiance and can be used any time of year.” Or select gender-neutral baby décor you can then move to the nursery.
  • Don’t toss — recycle: A 100 percent no-waste party is nearly impossible. But you can come pretty close when it comes to trash. Make recycling receptacles easy for your guests to find — at least, easier to find than trash cans (but you should have those too!). You can even create a sign that tells people what trash items to put in what container. Bonus points for providing a compost bin.

Gender Reveal Party Wrap-Up

  • Donate: Your party won’t clean up on its own. Sustainable party supplies can be washed and reused, but there are other elements that could use a second home. Donate florals to charities like Repeat Roses or Random Acts of Flowers that pick up florals, rearrange them, and give them a second life in nursing homes, hospitals, or hospice centers, says Fowler. If you’re working with a caterer, ask the coordinator if they have a partnership with any homeless shelters or food banks that accept donations of surplus food.
  • Say thank you: Send your gender reveal party guests on their way with sustainable party favors to help them spread the love – small potted succulents, wildflower seed packets, seed bombs, reusable water bottles, or homemade cookies and chocolates.

If you want to truly have a no-waste gender reveal moment, skip the party entirely. You can choose a more sustainable version of the well-publicized Kate Hudson gender reveal route and post a 20-second Instagram video of the big reveal. But instead of popping bad-for-the-environment balloons, you and your beloved could be tossing biodegradable glitter from recyclable paper confetti cones for your big moment. Or, go completely digital and — wait for it — play Gender Reveal Game, an app that lets you share the big moment with fam and friends and collect a few bucks along the way for, naturally, cloth diapers.