By Nadine Maffre of The Zero Waste Memoirs
From seasonal decorations to Easter eggs, children’s toys, and balloons, there’s always a lot of excess ‘stuff’ associated with the springtime holiday. On the other hand, children love the celebrations and games, creating many happy memories for the future.
This dilemma poses a challenge for parents who are concerned about the environment while still wanting their kids to have fun. Unless you like the idea of being a party-pooper parent, you’ll have to look for creative solutions that are eco-friendly and still enjoyable.
How do you achieve this balance and celebrate a zero-waste Easter? Here are some ideas you may find helpful in challenging your consumerist habits while going out shopping for your next Easter egg hunt.
Things To Avoid During Easter
Stores may make it easy, quick, and convenient to shop during the holidays. But you’ll find shelves stocked to the ceiling with plastic-wrapped goodies, plastic eggs by the dozen, and boxes of plastic Easter baskets.
How did a holiday that’s so meaningful and symbolizes a deeper purpose become associated with rampant consumerism that completely ignores the damaging impact on our world? It’s time to stem the rot and reverse the crushing wheels of progress, turning back the clock to a healthier, happier time without so much plastic in our lives.
Every eco-conscious parent likely has a list of items they try to avoid like the plague. Plastic Easter baskets are likely to top the list, along with all other unnecessary plastic accessories like fake grass and wrappings, or cheap Easter eggs filled with candy pieces covered in plastic. They are quite simply, terrible for our environment, as they often can’t be recycled and end up in landfills shortly after being used for their single-use purpose.
If you must have candy to fill Easter eggs, seek out your local bulk bin store and find candies that are free from wrappers. You can also wrap them loosely in mesh or cloth before stuffing your eggs. Even foil-wrapped chocolate is better than plastic-wrapped, since the aluminum coverings can be easily recycled over and over again. Or, you could try making your own candies!
Stuffed animals and other synthetic gifts are better avoided altogether. And instead of getting an Easter greeting card that will end up in the trash, why not gift your child a journal or book in which you can write your own sweet sentimental wishes for them to store and cherish for years?
Or even go digital for your family, with email greetings that have treasured family photos as attachments?
Zero-Waste Easter Egg Alternatives
There are many options for the discerning Easter shopper who wishes to go green and minimize waste.
You can refill plastic eggs from past years (we always advocate using what you already have over buying new things). Or buy zero waste easter eggs made from wood. These can become keepsakes for your kids!
Fillable wooden Easter eggs, cloth eggs, or nesting eggs can be reused year after year for egg hunts after being stuffed with healthier treats that you’ve made at home. They can even be used as toys all year round.
Or, here’s a radical thought. How about just avoiding eggs entirely, and hiding candy all around the house or garden for your kids to find? You’ll be protecting the environment from a load of plastic that will take centuries to degrade, and your kids probably won’t even notice that it’s not packed in a plastic egg. As long as they still get their candy at the end!
For adults, Zero-waste gifts like scented solid shampoo and conditioner bars are available readily and come in beautiful colors. Vegan hand-cut soaps and bath bombs also make for thoughtful eco-friendly Easter gifts.
Reusable wicker Easter baskets are eco-friendly while being an attractive option. You can use a pretty, well-made basket for Easter and then use it to store craft material or books for the rest of the year.
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You probably already have a little basket, bucket, or cup to hold Easter goodies and treats at home. So resist the temptation to buy another one just for Easter. You can decorate them with pretty ribbons, colored paper, or even fresh flowers from the garden to give them a more festive feel!
Then fill them with healthier alternatives than plastic-wrapped, pre-packaged biscuits and candy pieces. You could bake some cookies and cakes at home, use unpackaged pastries from a good neighborhood bakery, or prepare some homemade candy. Sweet treats like jello eggs made of agar are quick and easy to make at home using egg molds too!
Toys can be crafted from scraps of fabric or bought second-hand from charity stores. Crayons can be recycled from remnants of older crayons simply by using a silicone mold. You could even mold them into cute Easter shapes like bunnies or eggs!
Seeds that kids can plant in the garden might spark off an interesting new hobby. Wooden toys and gift tokens that can be redeemed against experiences such as a spa visit, or a trip to the museum, movie, or show are also sensible options. Gift cards are a popular favorite with many parents and family members. Use your imagination, and get creative!
A fun eco Easter activity
If you like to paint eggs at Easter, buy them from free-range local farms. Even if they are brown, you won’t notice a difference once you’re finished coloring them. And make sure to use natural foods and spices for coloring your eggs instead of synthetic dye kits. You’ll find many tutorials online about natural dyeing. And it adds to the fun of the activity!
Final thoughts on enjoying a zero-waste easter
When you are determined to safeguard the environment against further pollution and contamination by non-degradable synthetic waste, it is amazing how many creative ideas will come to mind. With a little time and effort spent on online research, you will discover neat ways in which other eco-sensitive parents and children are looking after our precious planet, without compromising in any way on having fun this Easter.
About the Author
Nadine Maffre champions sustainable living and making eco-friendly choices on her blog, The Zero Waste Memoirs. She believes that’s not about striving for perfection, but more a collective effort to make better choices in our everyday lives.