Waste not Wednesday - tips for eco-friendly PTAs

Our round up of small changes to lessen your PTA's impact on the environment

Weve gathered together our most sustainable solutions from our #WasteNotWednesday posts, so you can be eco-friendly every day of the week.


  • Make your catering stalls more eco-friendly by asking visitors to bring their own containers, plates and plastic cups. Provide an incentive by charging them a reduced price for tea and cake.
  • Hire eco-friendly party packs for your PTA events to cut down on paper and plastic waste. Or buy your own and loan them to other schools to increase your income.

Greener event planning

  • When holding a disco, choose eco-glitter or UV glow paint as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic novelties. Theres less waste and its friendlier on the budget too.
  • One inspirational school held a plastic tat amnesty and reused the preloved toys as prizes at fairs. Read more.
  • Wash out empty UV glow paint and glitter pots thoroughly and upcycle them, or use them for craft activities.
  • When preparing for your summer fair, borrow crockery and tableware from church halls or community groups.
  • Request donations of fabric scraps from parents and ask local crafting groups to help make bunting.
  • To decorate your event get the children crafting with recyclable materials; make paper chains and other paper decorations such as snowflakes, fans and pinwheels. No need to use tape to put your creations up, simply use one of the paper chain links or string to attach.
  • Hold a gift bag amnesty for your secret gift shop. Not only are the bags reused, you will also save money on wrapping paper. After each secret shop, place a box in reception where parents can re-donate the bags if they wish.
  • Ensure you have adequate, well-labelled bins for successfully recycling waste created at events. Dont forget to collect items, such as crisp packets to be sent to TerraCycle for an extra income boost.
  • Instead of spending money, time and resources wrapping stall prizes and Santas grotto gifts in single-use paper, wrap one large box and make it a lucky dip instead. If you have gender-specific prizes, you could have a girls and a boys box.
  • Ask parents to re-gift unused or duplicate Christmas presents to your PTA to build a stock of gifts ready for selling in the new year. Perfect for your Mothers Day gift rooms or jumble sales.

Eco-friendly event ideas

  • Host an eco-product crafternoon! Make biodegradable birdfeeders using half an orange to contain the mix and thread wool or twine to hang. Paint rocks to use as plant labels (use pet-friendly outdoor paint), or make your own beeswax wraps using donated scraps of fabric and local beeswax.
  • Many supporters will buy gifts for loved ones at your events, so why not sell school-branded eco-friendly shopping bags too? To help sell even more, engage in some marketing before the event takes place. Discover printed product suppliers here.
  • If you have any unsold, handmade creations remaining from your winter or summer fair, sell them at other local fairs and markets to maximise profits and save having to store them.


  • In the run-up to fancy dress events such as World Book Day, ask for donations of childrens costumes. Charge a minimal amount for purchases and set up a swap system: donate a costume and receive one free.
  • When you have upcoming fancy dress events, share ideas with your community to encourage them to make use of what they already have, ie
    • Harry Potter: Halloween cloak, hat and a stick wand
    • The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Green tracksuit, butterfly wings, face paint and a hairband or bunches for antennae
    • The White Rabbit: Waistcoat, watch and bunny ears
    • Wheres Wally: Striped jumper, blue trousers, glasses and a bobble hat
  • On the first non-uniform day after your school production, ask people to donate their costumes, which the school can retain for use every year.

Greener community

  • Combine forces with other local schools and create an eco-league. Together you can share tips and advice, consolidate and share responsibility for recycling and encourage some friendly competition. Find out if theres a local eco group in your town and reach out to them. Make it a team effort!
  • The Woodland Trust offers free tree packs to schools and communities. Visit their website for more details.
  • Not sure how to spread the eco message throughout your PTA? Gradually introduce your environmental thinking without overwhelming the committee or putting off supporters. See the Make your PTA greener article for ideas (link at the top of the page).


See also