Easter is a great time for all the family to bond. But it’s also a time that isn’t necessarily kind to the environment.
Many of you will think it's just not possible to have an eco-friendly Easter.
Most Americans celebrate Spring’s major holiday.
With its colors, traditions, chocolate (of course), and bunnies, kids and toddlers love it. And it’s fun for babies too. According to the National Retail Federation, a third of all participants have an egg hunt, with it being particularly popular among the 18 – 34 age group.
And let’s be honest, Easter tends to generate a lot of waste. The National Retail Federation states it will result in more than $18 billion in spending and $2.4billion of that will be spent on candy and chocolate. And where does all that sweet stuff go? Inside plastic eggs.
The Impact of Plastic On Easter
It’s very difficult to get an exact number on the amount of eggs that are made every year. However, there used to be one plastic egg manufacturer in the US – Bleyer Industries. Before it went bankrupt in the 2000s (thanks to competition from China) it was making 250 million eggs a year! That’s a lot of eggs that aren’t in any way biodegradable. Or kind to the planet. And you can bet the figure is now a lot higher. On top of the plastic use for the eggs, plastic toys also frequently go inside them. Then there is the plastic grass that lines the baskets. So with the packaging, foil, and other trash, Easter is one holiday that has the planet groaning and severely knocks our efforts to be sustainable and eco-friendly.
7 Tips On How To Have An Eco-friendly Easter
Paper and Wooden Eggs
Did you know there is such a thing as using paper eggs, which are biodegradable? Or you can buy wooden eggs, which cost more but are reusable. While paper eggs aren’t great for the outdoors, wooden ones are pretty hardwearing. And the extra bonus is you can have fun painting the eggs as well.
Reusable Plastic Eggs
If you have your heart set on plastic, you can check out reusable eggs made from recycled plastic. While they are more expensive, you can salve your sustainable conscience.
Or, you could think about giving up something in the weeks running up to Easter, that is going to cause the environment harm. For example, single-use plastics, like bags, and water bottles.
Another option is hang onto those old plastic eggs from the years gone by and recycle them. That way they don’t go into landfills, and you can use them again and again.
Dyes used on Easter eggs can often be full of toxic nasties. But there’s a great way to get creative just by using things in your kitchen. And they usually end up in the trash!
All you need is fruit and vegetable scraps, some water, and a small saucepan. For a dye, you need around one cup of chopped scraps of your choice and then cover them with twice as much water.
Then you just simmer the pan on a medium heat for one hour. Then let it cool and put it in a glass container. Need some inspiration? Spinach is a great green. And fruit dyes can really make your eggs pop.
If you want to use your natural dye on fabric, make sure you put it in a fixative. For fruit dyes, simmer your fabric in four cups of water and 1/4 cup salt. When it comes to a vegetable dyes, the measurements are simmer in four cups of water and one cup of vinegar.
Then you have to boil your fabric for one hour. Then rinse in cold water. And you just add the fabric to soak in your natural dye until it’s the color you want.
If you want some more guidance, you can visit The Incredible Egg, a site that has great information about how to make dyes from foods that have a lot of pigment in them, like beets, and turmeric.
If all this seems too much like hard work, there are many non-toxic kid’s dyes available. This one by Eco-Kids is made from organic fruit and vegetable extracts.
Turn Egg Decorating Into An Artform
Here’s a controversial suggestion. You could abandon your egg hunt all together, and concentrate on the egg decoration. Have fun with blowing out the yolk by putting a small hole in one end and a larger one in the other. Then you can use what’s inside for a recipe, or even just scrambled eggs!
Eco-friendly Easter Grass
While Easter grass is a fun decoration, it’s not the least bit eco-friendly. It can take forever to break down.
Today, there are a multitude of options that are a lot kinder to the environment. For example you can shred green paper, and then recycle it. Or, you can even use paper from a shredder if you aren’t worried about it being green.
There is also now eco grass available to buy that’s made from 100% recycled paper. You also have the option to cut up old garments that can be a different kind of grass for your baskets.
And you can also give back to the environment by using seed paper. It’s available in a myriad of colors. Plus, it’s made in the USA and uses 100% post-industrial recycled content along with vegetable-based dyes. Then when you’ve finished with it, plant it and see the flowers grow.
Conscious Candy and Eco-friendly Chocolate
The great news is that now there are so many chocolate bars and treats available that are ‘giving back’ to the environment as part of the manufacturing process. From Fair-Trade to non-GMO you’ll be struggling to decide which ones to go for.
Want something that’s got less sugar and is kinder to your kids? UnReal is non=GMO project certified and Fair Trade. They also have a vegan version that is made from almond butter.
Endangered Species Chocolate helps you educate your kids and save animals at the same time. Using Fair Trade ingredients, it’s created using sustainable growing practices. And it gives 10% of net profits to preserving habitats and wildlife.
Re-use Your Easter Egg Basket
One of the greenest easter egg basket options is a reusable basket, of course! Yes, the shiny colorful ones on sale every year at Target are tempting. But you can still get some classic options that can be used for years to come. They may be sad about not getting Paw Patrol, but get together and have fun decorating the one you have purchased. And you could even put their name on it. Or, get a basket that has a replaceable liner. That way you can change it up every few years. So they don’t grow out of the pattern.
Ditch The Candy For Eco-Friendly Basket Fillers
You don’t have to give your children a sugar-high at Easter. Go for some fun and practical surprises they can re-use. An example is a softball, or a new (sustainable) toy. We have a great range of toys here at 10 to 12 Baby Lounge (LINK TO TOYS PAGE) that are designed with your child’s welfare and the Environment in mind. You can check them out here.
Or you can give them an experience gift. Create a certificate, and offer them a fun day out, a trip to the beach, or the movies.