Whenever I think of Easter I think of family, spring, sunshine, daffodils, bunnies, fluffy yellow chicks, school holidays, egg hunts all wrapped up in a lovely nostalgic haze!
Undoubtedly, the star of the show, after the Easter Bunny, has to be the Easter egg. In fact in the UK we buy around 80 million Easter eggs every year, and the large majority of these are notoriously over-packaged. That brightly coloured foil & that weird moulded bit of plastic wedged inside a cardboard box accounts for around a third of the weight of the actual egg! In fact every year around 8,000 tonnes of waste is generated in just Easter egg packaging and cards alone. This makes Easter one of the most wasteful times of the year.
But with a few tweaks there’s quite a lot that we can do to keep the fun but ditch all of the unnecessary waste.
Low waste Easter ideas
1. Reuse a real basket
We have a trusty wicker basket with a handle which comes out each year that I picked up in a charity shop years ago. It’s pretty scruffy but it all adds to the rustic charm! We also have a felted chick bag which puts in its annual appearance during the egg hunt! So have a look around you can usually pick them up quite easily in charity shops or local buy/sell groups.
2. Ditch the fake plastic grass
That iffy plastic grass is not recyclable and so will inevitably end up in landfill or worse. Animals can easily mistake this for real grass too with tragic consequences. This year I’m going to use straw (I’m sure that our hamster won’t mind sparing us some!). But you can also use shredded paper, real grass, or even pretty fabric to line the bottom of the basket.
3. Plastic egg alternatives
So for egg hunts there’s no getting away from the fact that plastic hollow eggs are very good at their job! They keep the sweets/chocolate clean and dry and come in lots of lovely bright colours. We actually reuse our plastic hollow eggs year on year and just refill them with different sweets and mini eggs. Although, we’re getting low on them as they break easily, so I’m trying to replace them gradually with more eco alternatives. There’s some lovely plastic-free options out there made from wood, felt, papier mache, cloth, or even crocheted eggs! If you’re crafty you could make your own which would last year’s become a family tradition. Failing that Etsy is your friend! Granted there’s an initial financial outlay involved but if you reuse them every year it may be a good eco investment for years to come!
4. Choose Easter eggs with minimal packaging or make your own!
So this one’s a biggy – the Easter egg itself. Now as we know, most Easter eggs have a stupid amount of packaging involved. So look for eggs with minimal or recyclable packaging, some brands such as Montezuma have an ‘eco egg’ which comes in biodegradable packaging. But many brands are now trying to green-up their act and you can get some without plastic and cardboard packaging. Most kerbside recycling schemes will accept foil if it’s balled up but please check with your local council.
Now I might be crazy but this year I’ve bought some Easter egg moulds and have watched an unhealthy number of YouTube videos on ‘tempering chocolate’ with a view to making my own eggs! This could all go horribly wrong but I thought it may be worth a go. You never know I might be a genius chocolatier, and you don’t know until you try! So you can buy Easter egg moulds – I picked mine up on eBay.
5. Make your own Easter decorations
Making your own Easter decorations from fabric and paper that you already have around the house is a great eco way to decorate your house without buying. I’m also going to have a go at dying my own eggs this year as they look so cute. I’m lucky that the dyes that we stain our toys with are food-grade, gluten-free, vegan etc. (thanks Tiny Land!). so the egg is perfectly edible afterwards! But you can also use food items like turmeric, onion skins, beetroot etc. Get the kids involved and that’ll keep them busy for a while!
6. Bake, don’t buy!
Another great way of cutting down on plastic packaging is to bake your own Easter biscuits and cakes. Get the kids involved too and it’ll be a fun activity that’ll keep them busy too! Bonus!
7. Be picky with your cards!
So this is where a lot of the Easter waste comes in! Huge amounts of card waste is generated at Easter which seems a shame. If you’re sending a card then look out for cards that are easy to recycle without plastic, and without those attached landfill-destined embellishments! Making cards from scraps of card, fabric etc. is also a lovely personal way to say Happy Easter without the waste. Or maybe you could send an e-card instead?
8. Plastic-free chicks & gifts
So what about all of those little plastic chicks and bunnies that within minutes have one eye & one foot? Sometimes it’s good to break up the amount of chocolate finds on the egg hunt though, so what’s a good alternative?! Well I’ve seen some cute pom pom chicks made with yellow yarn scraps if you’re up for some crafts.
Another idea is to hide other things like books, stationery, crayons, playdough, second-hand toys, wooden toys, and chalks.
Our Eco Surprise™ toys also make the perfect Easter gifts too, especially the farm range which are great for this time of year! We’ll be hiding a few around the garden this year!
We wish you all a Happy Easter! Have fun! xx