Louise Wilkinson was standing in the aftermath of her daughter’s third birthday party when she had the germ of an idea. As she swept the detritus of the party into a bin bag – disposable plates and cups, endless half-chewed food, broken plastic party favours – she wondered if there was a better way. Did all kids parties have to be such an effort, and such a waste? In a world experiencing a climate crisis and striving for sustainability, couldn’t she do this better?
Louise, who has owned a catering company for twelve years, chatted with her friend Lottie, the owner of Crate a Party, about the possibility of creating something ethical for time-strapped parents who are environmentally conscious. Lottie, who had spent five years throwing children’s parties in her role, immediately knew exactly what Louise was talking about. “There is so much that goes in a black bag with kids parties, much more so than at the adult equivalent. That’s because children are so over excited and can’t be trusted with breakable plates and cups so parents always opt for disposable party ware. Which makes total sense and is much more time efficient for parents who are doing parties on their own. However, I began to feel really guilty about it – and to wonder if I could change the offer available to parents making the options as easy and flexible but environmentally friendly.” And so the idea for Little Eco Eats was born.
If this sounds simple, the set up of the company could not have been more difficult. They were passionately committed to creating zero waste parties, and set about an arduous process of research. “All the packaging is made from plant based material,” explains Louise. “It can actually be put in a home food waste bin, or you can dig it into soil in a garden or a large tub and watch it disappear. My four year old thinks it’s super fun – a bit like in the 80s when you used to shrink a crisp packet in the oven, only much healthier.”
Lottie and Louise do every part of the party for you – the food, the blowing up of eco-friendly balloons, the clearing of the waste, designing of the parties and even the setup. Nothing goes in landfill – absolutely everything they produce is compostable or reusable. At the end of the party, parents simply pop all the detritus back in the delivery box and Little Eco Eats will collect it and do the compositing for you.
The pair trialled their first Little Eco Eats Party for Louise’s daughter’s fourth birthday. It was a stunning success, not least because all of the parents in attendance were in raptures about the healthy, delicious food that the pair had managed to create. This, too, is at the heart of their company: party food doesn’t have to be junk; it can be delicious and nutritious and enjoyed by kids. “We make every effort to make things from scratch, and we adore our iconic carrot and cucumber discs which are a fun alternative to the well known vegetable crudités baton,” says Louise. “Children love them and it’s a great way for them to eat their vegetables – often they don’t even recognise it as a vegetable!“
An end to cheesy wotsits and pizza? Little Eco Eats is revolutionising the children’s party scene, making it fun, healthy and sustainable. Now that is a reason to celebrate.