Sunday, April 12, 2009

Green up your Easter celebration

Easter tends not to be a green holiday what with all the plastic-wrapped candy, plastic grass and high-fructose corn syrup. To reduce your ecological footprint, I have a few suggestions based on decades of experience--my mother's! Our Easter tradition was finding our Easter basket on Sunday morning after the Easter bunny hid it, having a few pieces of candy and then going to church.

Reuse was a big part of the family Easter celebration. I had the same Easter basket for nearly 30 years with the same plastic grass it in every year. How many people could say they reused the plastic grass over generations, hm? While plastic is not the best choice, reusing it each year minimizes the waste of resources. Consider paper grass for reuse or composting or sew Easter bags to hold gifts or candy using Easter-patterned fabric. For those who can knit or crochet, how about making bags from yarn? There are lots of fun colors and patterns that could be used for Easter.

Buy candy with the least amount of packaging. For example, the Easter bunny always gave me M&Ms without a bag. Instead of purchasing the fun size individual packets, the chocolate was free to hide in the plastic grass, making it an adventure to find the candy. There was still foil-wrapped chocolates, a milk-chocolate bunny and even Reese's peanut butter eggs so our family was not free of plastic wrapping. Try using homemade treats that you only make for special occasions instead of buying chocolate. My sister-in-law makes stellar fudge and I enjoy chocolate-covered pretzels.

While the Easter bunny only gave me chocolate in my basket, one way to make Easter sugar-free would be to give other sorts of gifts. Fun toys for the kids or nice fun yet educational books. You might give them some coins to put in a piggy bank or help them plant a tree or some flowers to decorate your home and benefit the environment. You could make it a tradition to add something new to the yard each year.

Of course, there is the edible and biodegradable option: hard-boiled eggs. While I am not a fan of eating them, I always liked decorating them. Vegetable-based dyes are not harmful and hunting for hidden eggs is always an adventure. Plus, the shells can be composted and eggs are good for you.

So enjoy a little treat for Easter whether you celebrate with family or friends or yourself. Consider reusable or biodegradable alternatives to disposable plastic stuff. I am looking forward to the 58 degree temperatures, seeing my family and sampling my mom's Easter brunch. Happy Easter!

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