How to Make Eco-Friendly Confetti

If you celebrated New Year’s, you probably know what a hassle confetti can be — but what you may not know is that it’s also harsh on our planet.  


Jan. 2 2019, Updated 5:48 p.m. ET

eco friendly confetti
Source: iStock

Though confetti has been a popular convention of ceremonies for centuries — weddings, birthday parties, even New Year’s Eve celebrations (as we’re sure you noticed) — eco-friendly confetti has had a bit of a hard go. Traditional confetti is made out of microplastics or mylar, and if it has a metallic shine to it, likely some component of metal. As you can imagine, none of these materials are beneficial to the environment and can cause a lot of harm.

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These traditional kinds of confetti can wash away into storm drains, then into local water sources where they do damage to aquatic life. Alternatively, confetti and glitter can also be harmful to animals who stumble upon clumps of the stuff and ingest it. Birds are particularly susceptible to this negative impact of confetti. Is there no eco-friendly confetti alternative?

While a handful of companies have pioneered sustainable alternatives to confetti, many are not all they’re cracked up to be — particularly when it comes to shine. If confetti labeled as “eco-friendly” or “biodegradable” has a sheen to it, it’s likely still made with some kind of metallic component, therefore rendering it not as sustainable. Rice has been used for an alternative for years, but even rice has its downfalls: it’s slippery and rather large, so if a bird ingests it, the bird could choke.

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This all might seem kind of disheartening, but don’t worry: You don’t have to give up confetti altogether. Now, you’ll have the perfect sustainable alternative so you can celebrate any occasion (and get that picture-perfect Instagram photo) without sacrificing the fun and look of confetti.

The natural alternative to confetti is clean-up-free, inexpensive (actually, it costs $0!), and you can make it at home. You’ll only need two things: a hole puncher and a collection of dried leaves from outside.

Leaves are all-natural, biodegradable, compostable, and without any chemicals, additives, or synthetic sheens, so you don’t have to clean the leaf confetti when you’re finished using it. Leaf confetti has no harmful effects on the environment as leaves fall on the ground and decompose naturally anyway. There’s no worry of leaf confetti running down storm drains and negatively affecting aquatic life. Lastly, there’s no worry that birds (or other animals) will ingest the confetti and choke, as leaves are perfectly fine for animals to eat.

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