Low-Waste Ideas for “Goodie Bags”

With the major gift-giving season behind us, Valentine’s Day looms, bringing with it the obligation (for many parents of school kids) to put together “goodie bags” for each one of their children’s classmates. I did not realize this had grown into such a thing, but someone on the “Zero Waste, Zero Judgment” Facebook group posted about it asking people for ideas.

When we were kids, we were expected to bring a Valentine’s card for each of our classmates, but back then those were small, thin little pieces of paper. Not a waste bonanza of plastic junk and wrapping and bags.

Nowadays, at least in some places, it’s full-on bags of candy and other stuff. If the child has 20 classmates, each kid has to bring 20 goodie bags to school, and then each kid comes home with 20 goodie bags. Yikes. It’s easy for me as an armchair parent to advise greenminded parents to just refuse to participate in this, but then the kid ends up feeling left out and possibly being ostracized.

I’ll share a few thoughts. And also am linking an article someone shared on ZWZJ about this. She has lots of good tips.

One obvious idea is to communicate with other parents and see if they feel the same as you do. It could be that’s all it takes to make a shift. You could also approach the teacher.

And talk to your child too, of course. Find out how they really feel about the goodie-bags custom. Is it fun for them? Or stressful? You may find that the kids themselves aren’t as into it as the grownups are. (I really have no idea about this though. Armchair parent here.)

Further Reading:

Low-Waste Goodie Bags, Prizes, and Stocking Stuffers (from ZeroWasteChef.com). The author went on Instagram to crowd-source goodie bag ideas. She got lots of “goodies”!