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Conservation Corner: Eco-Friendly Gender Reveal Options

By Lynn Lewis - lynnl@landings.org 
Communications Manager 

Gender reveals have gained in popularity since they began in the late 2000s and have become a much-anticipated means of announcing the sex of a new arrival to the expectant parents, family, and friends. 

Using gender-associated colors, typically blue for boys and pink for girls, countless items are used to make the big announcement, including balloons, cake, colored smoke, and silly string. However, among the most popular choice for gender reveals is confetti. 

The problem with confetti is that most people opt for the plastic or foil kind, which is unsustainable and not eco-friendly. Plastic or foil confetti won’t biodegrade, while the dye from colored paper can seep into the ground. Both alternatives are beautiful, but they ultimately will end up in a landfill or the belly of some animal. 

Additionally, wind, rain, and tides can wash items (e.g., plastics, foam, wood, etc.) into the ocean, contributing to marine debris. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) defines marine debris as “any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes.” 

According to NOAA, some potentially negative impacts from these items getting into the marsh and ocean may include ingestion by animals, entanglement, and the release of toxins from the plastic. Larger plastic items over time will break down into smaller and smaller pieces and become microplastics. Similar to macro marine debris, microplastics also are a detriment to animals and the environment. To read more about marine debris, click here

So, what is the planner of a Gender Reveal to do? I’m glad you asked, as there are other alternatives that not only are fun but eco-friendly, too. Following is a quick list, and a Google search for “Eco-Friendly Gender Reveal ideas” can yield many more. 

  • Natural Flower Petals 
  • Biodegradable Confetti 
  • Seed Paper 
  • Edible Paint 

As we welcome new life into the world, let’s be sure to think about the planet and the animals that live among us on land and in the water. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your new arrival. Chances are you’ve already marveled at the massiveness of a Manatee and experienced the cuteness of a tiny, baby Diamondback Terrapin. Let’s take care of our environment so our children can experience these wonders, too!