Planning an Eco-Friendly Easter celebration is easy to do AND you can think about making it zero waste too. Here are 10 great tips for creating less waste AND still make it fun for the whole family, including kids.
1. Don't go overboard with Easter gifts
The more chocolate and gifts you give to kids, the more likely it is you will overwhelm them and hit a sugar laden rollercoaster making your long weekend seriously hard work.
The Easter Bunny in our suburb, gives ONE chocolate present each to the kids, and this year he's planning to bring a doggy fake chocolate treat too. We (the parents) are gifting a very small non-sugar Easter related present to the kids, and this will help them keep occupied while we sit back and drink coffee and enjoy the serenity of our weekend away.
There will no doubt be lots of other foods including chocolate over the long weekend so we consider this plenty and I've never heard anyone say they didn't have enough chocolate at Easter.
Now, buying less is only a suggestion and it might not be something you're ready for, but it does free up time and money, causes less shopping related stress AND might even stop you getting super annoyed that your significant other is uninvolved in most of the process. It's a win win, but if you're accustomed to buying lots and feel like it has gotten to unmanageable proportions, just slowly taper it back each time until you hit a level you're happy with.
Note that I say YOU...it doesn't have to be the level the kids, your family or friends are happy with...they will adjust in no time. You may also want to discuss before hand with those that you usually exchange gifts with just to avoid potential awkward social situations. Explain that you are either saving time, money or want to focus more on the family interactions than material things.
Some people probably do think our approach is on the mean side, where as others may think what we do is too much, but it's what we're happy with and the kids are happy too....and in all honesty, that is all that counts!
2. Buy Local, Ethical and Sustainable Easter Chocolate
Ok, we're pretty much all going to buy at least some chocolate aren't we?? The closer to home your chocolate is made, the better as it reduces the environmental impacts of packing and transport and supports local jobs. Haigh's chocolate is my absolute favourite, and based in South Australia, but it's also not always within our budget. Wherever you live, there's bound to be options closer to home with no need to choose so do a quick google search to see what's near you.
Doing your Easter shopping could actually lead to a fabulous family outing to a chocolate factory in the countryside. Just remember to team up with another adult to distract the kids while you do Easter Bunny's shopping for him. (Why are Easter Bunny and Santa both male....and us girls get stuck doing their shopping?!?)
3. Shop Wholefoods for Zero Waste Easter Foods
Raid your nearest bulk wholefood shop or if your lucky you will have a section in your local supermarket. Pretty much all of them have chocolate and other goodies that can be bought package free ranging from chocolate coated raspberry bullets, smarties, rocky road, chocolate covered nuts, and all kinds of delicious things. They may even stock some locally and ethically made Easter items too. Here are some of my favourite wholefood shops around Adelaide
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (or Refuse)
Double check packaging before you buy, the less plastic, the better and plan to recycle what you can. Some chocolates even come in recycled cardboard packaging and it only takes a second to look at what rubbish you are purchasing with your goodies.
I talk about soft-plastics a lot, so be sure to save them up and drop them at Coles or Woolies in the Redcycle bins (Head here to find out what and where you can do this).
Both Cardboard and moulded plastic packaging can generally go in the kerbside recycle bins. If you're not sure, use the scrunch test...if it springs back to form it's kerbside, if not it's Redcycle. Learn more about items you can easily recycle here.
Don't forget about the FOIL too! Collect all your foil and form into a ball about fist size or bigger, for recycling. Why? Because small pieces wont get picked up at the recycling plant but a ball will!
Of course, you may want to try and repurpose it. The simplest option is reshaping the foil to make it look like an uneaten egg or bunny and then tricking the family into thinking it might actually be more chocolate.
You can also flatten colourful and save it for kids craft or as someone said to me the other day, you can make tinsel from it. (I have no idea how, but I plan to find out and when I do, I'll share it on the blog). I might try and get creative over the break and see what I can make, I have put the word out to a few people that I'm collecting foil as I don't think we'll have much of our own to work with.
You may have notices this heading includes refuse....You can refuse packaging by what you choose to buy, but you can also refuse gift giving and receiving. Be careful not to offend though, you might be helping the planet but find a way not to alienate your friends and family at the same time!
Think about refusing glad wrap, there are so many other options and society has been well and truly tricked into thinking gladwrap is convenient and many of us struggle getting tangled up in that crap while trying to wrap a single item. Here are 12 Alternatives to cling-wrap that can get you out of this trap.
5. Plan to avoid Easter Food Waste
When celebrating its easy to overboard with food and Aussies waste a heck of a lot of food and it's costing us money. First, be realistic about the amount of food you need and don't go into survival mode and try to buy as much as is humanly possible before the shops close for a day or two.
Once you have your food, store it well and remember to refrigerate leftovers and freeze things you won't eat in time. Easter buns can be frozen in Tupperware containers and make a handy lunchbox treat (more details on freezing cakes and baked goodies plastic-free here). If you're entertaining, make sure to send guests home with leftovers too!
It's pretty hard to have zero food waste, but most will be able to be composted, fed to worms or placed in your organics bin for kerbside collection. Head here for more tips on reducing food waste and some great ways to use scraps.
6. Make your Own Easter Treats
If you're feeling motivated, you can create your own moulded chocolates, bake hot cross buns or even a gorgeous Easter cake. We sometimes get stuck in a rut of believing we need to purchase rather than create. Kids adore mixing, decorating and licking spoons, so if you do have the time it's a worthwhile activity. (And you can bake zero waste, it's really simple!)Depending on their age, cooking can lead to mini lessons in maths, science and art as you measure, count, mix or observe how yeast transforms dough. (If your kidless, then you can probably get it all done in about 1/4 of the time!).
I think these natural dyed hard-boiled ruby eggs are worth a try.
7. Eco-Friendly Easter Decorations & Gift Wrap
Opt for reusable decorations that you can store and bring out each year. For example fabric bunting, wooden signs and woven baskets for Easter Egg hunts. Wrapping gifts in fabric or reuse gift bags from last year. Alternatively, you might want to try these gorgeous turmeric dyed bags.
Gift tags can be made from cardboard boxes or even toilet rolls and be honest, how many Easter cards do you actually want to receive or keep?
I noticed this morning that all the Easter cards in the shops are wrapped in plastic too! And given the prices it feels like throwing away money that could be spent on chocolate or holidays.
If you're planning a bit of a shin dig with loads of kids I can recommend this article on planning an Easter event to suit big groups of kids while being green and still having loads of fun
8. Easter Gifts for Adults or Hosts
You don't have to give gifts to everyone, most adults don't need or want an Easter gift. If you're stuck in the pattern of giving everyone a gift, try writing a top 5 list of the people you would most want to give to.
Homemade chocolate, Easter buns, cookies, cakes and other foods can be a simple gift that is well appreciated. Chocolate dipped strawberries, flowers from the garden, a potted plant cutting, chocolate from the bulk food aisle put into one of the many glass jars you've probably been collecting are just some options to consider.
9. The Eco Easter Bunny Visit
Easter Bunny is down with zero waste and he totally loves plastic free carrots, leafy greens or a bit of grass from the backyard AND will eat off a regular re-usable plate, so don't get sucked in to buying themed disposables. He drinks water and sometimes leaves footprints (made from dusted flour.... Don't use icing sugar by the way...flour is far easier to clean up!).
He also hides the presents and sometimes leaves notes and clues so it keeps the kids on their toes while mummy gets a coffee and waits for the caffeine to kick in (ideally before the kids sugar high). Occasionally, like Santa's Reindeer, Easter Bunny leaves a few droppings (chocolate coated sultanas) and the kids shriek if mummy happens to accidently eat them!
Creating something magical can be a simple, low cost and eco-friendly approach that kids will remember well into their adulthood.
Don't forget, Easter Bunny has helpers just like Santa so this is why the gifts and experiences differs in every suburb, street and house. Some kids get loads of chocolate because they don't mind the ''yucky chocolate'', while other kids who appreciate good chocolate find themselves receiving the high quality stuff!
It's your story, so make your own traditions and find a story that works to explain why your house might do it differently.
This year, he is leaving carrot seeds from his favourite carrots so the kids can plant, grow and eat bunny style...and hopefully grow one for him next year.
10. Get Crafty
Yet again, I think I have left it too late to really get on-board with being crafty this year, but it hasn't stopped me looking around and I did find some great ideas that I definitely want to give a try.
You can see all my other aspirational Easter crafts on Pinterest, head to the bottom of the page to find me there (and don't forget to pin this for future reference)
I hope you have a fabulous Easter!
If you're looking for more ideas, check out this post on 34 Tips for a Zero Waste Easter by The Mindful Mom Blographer
Comment below with your best tips for being ecofriendly at Easter time.