My good friend, Jen, and fellow Eco Woman is here today to talk about going “green” this Easter.
Easter is coming, which means that parents everywhere are starting to prepare for the Easter Bunny’s arrival at their house. They’re buying baskets, plastic eggs, and all sorts of candy.
Before you join the crowds at Walmart, I’d like to offer some suggestions for how to make your Easter a bit more eco-friendly this year. Some of my suggestions come from the experience of having daughters who are now 8 and 10, which means my husband and I have quite a few Easters under our parenting belts. Some of my suggestions also come from the book Celebrate Green: Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations, and Traditions for the Whole Family by Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell, which I read last fall. (For a review written by Kirstin, the owner of this blog, click here.)
Let’s start with the foundation — the Easter basket itself. Most people buy their children new baskets every year, which is wasteful to both Planet Earth and your wallet. Buy one that is of good quality materials (NOT plastic) that will last for a long time. Both of my daughters have Longaberger baskets, which are made in Ohio (not China or some other far-off country) by people making fair wages. Longaberger baskets last FOREVER and I feel confident that my daughters’ baskets will be around for their children to use.
The next important part of Easter for every eco kid is the eggs. Hopefully, you are already buying eggs that are from chickens that are cage-free and vegetarian. This year, instead of getting one of those dyeing kits from a big box store, how about using natural ingredients? Not only will you be doing your part to save Planet Earth, you’ll be saving yourself a little bit of money in the process. For tips on how to dye your eggs the old fashioned way, click here.
A lot of people buy that fake plastic grass for their children’s Easter baskets. Don’t do it! If you really feel like you need something to look like grass, use a little bit of shredded paper and then recycle it afterward. Or maybe some pretty fabric. I don’t use anything at all because it takes up valuable real estate that could be used for more important things…
… such as the Easter loot! Like many parents, I don’t completely fill my daughters’ basket with candy, opting instead to add a few other small things that they’ll enjoy and that won’t cause their blood sugar levels to plummet by lunch time. Some parents opt for cheap plastic crapola that will end up in a landfill pretty quickly, but I encourage you to think about quality over quantity. Why not give your child a book that he’ll read over and over? Or how about some art supplies? In recent years, the list of things I’ve put in my daughters’ baskets includes: colored pencils, stickers, books, CDs, DVDs, seed packets (we’re avid gardeners), fun socks like Little Miss Matched, jewelry made by someone I know, Etsy artists whose work I admire, new water bottles, and even small things for their dollhouse (which was mine when I was their age).
And then there’s the candy…
Celebrate Green recommends that you put healthy treats in your children’s baskets and also make your own candy. Let’s get real here. If I make my own chocolate bunnies, my kids are going to know, plus who has time for that? (Besides, Martha Stewart, that is.) And, if I put raisins or other healthy stuff in my kids’ baskets, I’m going to have a revolt on Easter morning. So I compromise — I buy my girls enough chocolate to satisfy them, but not so much that they’re on sugar overload all day.
Instead, I recommend that you buy organic chocolate and candies, such as the bunny shown on the right from Lake Champlain Chocolates. If it’s not in your budget, how about just buying just one or two organic goodies? It may not seem like much, but it’s a start and those small actions combined make large statements.
I freely admit that we’re not perfectly eco here at my house. I will get a few organic chocolates, but I will also buy some things at World Market and Target. Not huge amounts, but I’m not going to deny my children their Jelly Bellies and M&Ms.
And finally, we need to talk about the plastic eggs. Whether or not you use them is a personal decision. But, if you do, I hope that you’re not throwing them away after Easter. Wash them and use them again next year! If you have some that you’re not going to use, then give them to someone who will. If you don’t know anyone who could use them, then you’ll probably find takers on your local Freecycle network.
So that’s how we do Easter baskets here at my house. One of my girls knows about the Easter Bunny and the other one suspects but doesn’t really want to know, so it looks like we’ll be leaving a carrot out on the evening of April 11. Then again, knowing my love of holidays, something tells me that I’ll still be doing Easter baskets even when my children go off to college!
Photo credits, top to bottom: MarthaStewart.com, eHow.com, Yahoo Images, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Flickr.