Palm Leaf Plates from Wild Leaf Tableware

The Eco-friendly Party By Jess Schmidt

Sustainable products boost sales, improve optics and make the planet happy

Demand for eco-friendly products is on the rise. According to Statistica, 77% of consumers surveyed in 2020 considered the sustainability and environmental responsibility of brands to be either very important or moderately important to them. It’s safe to say that these trends are here to stay. In the retail world, offering more sustainable products can improve the overall eco footprint and perception of your store.

Palm Leaf Plates from Wild Leaf Tableware
Palm Leaf Plates. Wild Leaf Tableware.

Traditionally, parties will demand more single-use items than everyday life. It’s no wonder — the products are so cute and match the theme better than what’s already in consumers’ cabinets. But it means we see an increase in the use of disposable plates, paper napkins and plastic forks, wrapping paper around gifts.

These products, while cheerful and convenient, do not check that eco- friendly box that many consumers are seeking. Yet this merchandise is very important as customers need enough plates and silverware for every guest when hosting an event.


Disposable plates made of paper — post-consumer- recycled or not — don’t have to be a drain on the landfills. After all, paper biodegrades relatively quickly compared to other trash, and paper plates, which can still take five years to decompose in a landfill, might even be recyclable.

Palm Leaf Plates from Wild Leaf Tableware
Palm Leaf Plates from Wild Leaf Tableware are a stylish and planet friendly alternative to paper or plastic plates. The plates are produced from biodegradable raw materials that produce a natural wood-like appearance.

“Almost all of our goods are recyclable,” said Jeff Kallil, vice president of marketing at Design Design. “Any paper products that do not have foil, and also glass containers from our soy-based wax candles are recyclable.”

The Eat Drink Host Birch Party Forks & Plates from Boston International

Design Design is working on new packaging to increase the sustainability of its products, such as a new cellophane-type product made of paper as well as an eco-friendly acetate box for greeting cards and are hoping to launch the new packaging in 2022.

The Eat Drink Host Birch Party Forks & Plates from Boston International
The Eat Drink Host Birch Party Forks & Plates from Boston International.

Buyers should look for unbleached post-consumer- recycled paper products with soy-based ink printing and no foil for paper plates. Take it a step further by seeking compostable products, including vegetable-based plastic lining to prevent liquids from soaking into the paper. For higher-end events, look for more eco-friendly options such as plates made of alternative materials such as palm leaf or sugarcane (that look like wood) since these materials grow much faster than trees.


Some people wash and reuse plastic cutlery, but in case your customers don’t, choose to stock environmentally friendly options, such as cutlery made of wheat, corn, bamboo, sugarcane or birch.

118 pc GUUD Brand Zero Waste Party Set from The GUUD Brand.
118 pc GUUD Brand Zero Waste Party Set from The GUUD Brand.

The Eat Drink Host line from Boston International is an example of eco-friendly tableware that offers tiny wooden plates and forks made from birch. Boston International said that birch is a “fast growing tree species that causes little devastation or destruction of biodiversity when (they) are cut down.” The plates are an ideal size for appetizers and are disposable, compostable and biodegradable.

The Eat Drink Host Birch Party Forks & Plates from Boston International
The Eat Drink Host Birch Party Forks from Boston International.


Unlike traditional wax, soy-based wax is a carbon-neutral material that retailers could offer in lieu of — or in addition to — traditional wax candles. Products with soy ink are equally as sustainable, and any maker that relies on this type of ink is probably paying attention to the eco-friendliness.

Greeting Cards from Design Design
Greeting Cards from Design Design are created with soy ink on recycled paper and are a great way to celebrate party honorees or to thank those who joined in the festivities.


No party is complete without balloons. Look for re-inflatable foil balloons with self-sealing valves. Retailers can continue to make a profit on reusable balloons by offering refilling services in the store.

Round out your eco-friendly party product display by including cloth tablecloths and napkins, cake stands, serving ware and pretty gift boxes that can be reused for storage — the sky’s the limit.

As stores grapple with the consumer wishes to keep things earth-friendly, these simple, key shifts in the types of party goods retailers offer can mean a net gain for sustainability. Offering these goods will drive traffic, positive word-of-mouth advertising, which can increase sales.

As seen in Celebrations & Occasions, a special issue presented by Gift Shop® Plus and Stationery Trends.

Jess Schmidt

Jess brings a creative writing degree and over 16 years of professional writing experience to her role as content marketer for the Great American Media Services and SmartSolutions teams. With her additional background in the design world, she works with clients to make their brand stories stand out. Her specialties are thought leadership, compelling descriptive language and marketing strategy. She moonlights as a contributing writer with Gift Shop Plus from time to time.

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