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Whether you eat your Easter bunny chocolates feet first or tail first, the one thing you should be concerned about is how your sweet treat is packaged. Unfortunately, several people are completely clueless and careless about how much they contribute to waste every Easter. Did you know that Easter packaging and cards produce 8,000 tons of waste every year? That’s true.
Holidays today have become less of religious days for remembering past events and more expensive celebrations. It’s as if there’s a competition between parents when it comes to spending on extra gifts and treats. It’s high time we as a society become more mindful about the environment - it will, after all, determine our own planet’s future.
Since we won’t be moving to Mars after making Earth into a dump of plastics, let’s take it one step at a time and spend holidays in a more environment-friendly manner such as by following ideas for zero waste Easter. That said, this piece discusses why we need to focus on reducing waste, how much we are contributing to it and what we are some ideas for zero waste Easter.
Starting with the statistics - How Easter is a wasteful holiday
Let’s take a look at some Easter stats to get an idea about how much waste is generated on this March-April Christian holiday:
- The average expenditure on Easter 2019 was estimated to be around up to $18.1 billion. This shows that Americans spend on Easter quite a lot.
- On average, one person would be spending $156 this Easter.
- Of total spending, 89% plan on buying Easter chocolates, 46% plan on buying cards, 61% plan on purchasing gifts, and 43% plan to spend decorations. This info comes from the average spending of people in 2017 and 2018 as per the NRF.
These stats are worrying - people buy lots of highly packaged chocolate, spend on decorations that go to the bin once the weekend passes and gifts that break into small plastic parts within a year. Cards also don’t leave a favorable environmental footprint as forests are vanishing with trees being sacrificed for paper production.
Interestingly, people are unwittingly wasting their money on fancy packaging more than the actual product as one study found that the packaging of Easter eggs chips in 25% of the total weight of the item. Some chocolate eggs are so excessively packaged, complete with cardboard, plastic, and foil that they have only 10% chocolate.
Ideas for zero waste Easter - Practical tips for reducing environmental damage
Now that we have talked about the importance of ideas for zero waste Easter, here are some practical tips for reducing waste and plastic’s impact on the environment:
1 - Don’t buy new stuffed or plastic toys and get more creative
Instead of purchasing a bunch of gifts that are cheap and are likely to break and go into the bin sooner, buy your kids better stuff. Like what, you may be wondering. Well, you can buy them crayons and clay, both of which can serve creative and educational purposes. You can also buy plant seeds, make bubble water or such other gift.
2 - Don’t invest in heavily packaged Easter eggs
Companies and consumers need to understand this - there is no need for a chocolate egg to come in so many layers of packaging. Cadbury is playing its part by offering Easter eggs wrapped in a single layer of foil. You can buy such chocolates. Other than this, you can also:
- Make your own healthy eggs at home. Again, don’t use disposable plastic or dyes in the process. There are many videos on how you can prepare DIY Easter eggs using better materials, and techniques.
- Buy regular chocolates with one layer of packaging done responsibly. Many kids don’t care about the eggs but only the chocolate anyway.
- Purchase eggs that come in reusable packaging
3 - Don’t buy disposable molds, baskets or other items
Your child doesn’t need a fancy basket to collect Easter eggs. Rather be more responsible and invest the least in items that cannot be recycled or upcycled.
When it comes to baskets and egg carriers, invest in wooden ones that can be used year after year. Instead of plastic baskets, give them jute bags that are friendly for the environment. Save the jute bag for use next year and save your money too. For even the storage of smaller candies, use mason jars or home-made cloth bags.
4 - Don’t give cards, try other options
Don’t give your kids cards. Rather than those, write down your letters to them in a journal so that they can have a record. Cards end up the trash bin anyway. Or, you can create email ids for them where you can send them emails yearly or occasionally. This way, you’d be playing your part in being better for the environment as well as collecting memories that can be accessed later.
5 - Reuse whatever you can
Another of the ideas for zero waste Easter - always invest in items that can be reused the next year such as wooden eggs, etc. If you cannot do that for whatever reason, invest in secondhand plastic eggs. For even grass, which many think is important to place in Easter baskets, don’t use plastic grass. Use a shredded old cloth, tissue, or another such better material.
So, these were some ideas for zero waste Easter. This year, Easter falls on Sunday, April 12. Do you have any unique ideas for zero waste Easter to contribute to this list? Please add in the comments!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Elice Max