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Tips for Reducing Your Impact This Easter

by Stephanie Phelan
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Easter egg

More festive joy, less environmental footprint! Let’s celebrate what Easter and the Spring Equinox is really about: a time of renewal and restoration or “rebirth”. 

Large retailers nationwide continue to stock their shelves with vibrant, novelty treats and decor – soon to become obsolete. But consumers are beginning to have a shift in perspective, possibly a “rebirth” of their own. Many are asking themselves…why all the waste?

And where’s the healthy treats? 

And…are these decorations going to last me until next year?

The majority of these answers may not be found while browsing through these festive aisles – ones that bring a sense of inner, childlike wonder for many of us. 

But once you do sense that shift in perspective, these aisles tend to become more of a glistening mirage of planned obsolescence. So how can you mindfully choose the symbolic treasures used to celebrate Easter? Here are some low waste options; that benefit you, your community, and your loved ones!

Choose Ethical Chocolates

There are many holidays that support the idea of indulging in a true delight – one loved by all ages: Chocolate! This article gives you a great list of some local chocolatiers in Texas to check out! Is it just me – or does chocolate just taste better when it’s fair trade, ethically made, and locally produced?

onions and produce bagVisit a Farm

You can see this list of 10 Texan Farms for Easter Fun. Farmers need our support now, more than ever! By taking the family to a local farm, you can show your children where and how food is produced – even at a young age – to get them interested in gardening.

You can see this list as well, specifically for Easter, where you can pick up some farm fresh eggs!

Aim For Less Packaging

For packaging free Easter eggs, check out your local bulk store – some have special offerings over this holiday. You could also simply put any bulk chocolates in a decorated jar or paper bag to make them more festive. This article by The Guardian is a super interesting read where 10 best-selling Easter egg brands were analyzed on their packaging and waste. It revealed:

Thorntons’ Classic Large Egg was the worst offender:  the cardboard box and plastic make up more than a third (36.4%) of the product’s weight. The second-worst was Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Egg that has a packaging weight percentage of 28.1%, while Mars’s Milk Chocolate Easter Egg and Chocolate Bar and Cadbury’s Creme Giant Egg both weighed in at just above the 25% average at 25.5% and 25.1% respectively.

The bigger picture is that we could all potentially create a great amount of waste, if we’re not aware of it. But once we’re more conscious of the waste involved in packaging – we can crunch these numbers in way less, or even zero!

chocolate Easter eggsBuy Fair Trade and Palm Oil Free

Palm oil production has contributed to the destruction of rainforests and biodiversity due to its unsustainable mass production. 80% of orangutans’ habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years and there is a serious risk that they will become extinct in our lifetime! 

Due to the high amount of sales for big chocolate companies at Easter, many will use cocoa butter alternatives such as palm oil and shea butter in both the chocolate shells and fillings of Easter eggs to reduce costs. This can also be the hidden cause of unspecified vegetable oils or fats, and emulsifiers. And believe it or not, palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world. 

Fair trade certified chocolate means that social, economic, and environmental sustainability is considered in the farming and making of the product – the farmers get a fair wage, community development projects are invested in, and environmental impacts are minimized. This is done through sustainable irrigation practices, crop rotation, reducing carbon emissions, improving biodiversity, prohibiting GMO crops, the safe use of legal pesticides, and proper hazardous waste disposal.

Easter cookies

Consider Other Treat Options!

You can read here how our kids are falling prey to a pandemic, and it’s not COVID-19. Type II Diabetes is on the rise in young adults, and there are more options now to switch out the sugars our bodies are used to craving. Consider these alternatives:

  • Buy vegan chocolate. Not all dark chocolate is vegan, but chocolate with a high percentage of cacao – between 55 and 85 percent – is more likely to be vegan. Plus, that’s when you’re going to get the most apaptogenic (or “feel good”) properties. 
  • Fresh fruit. Natural sugars are what our bodies really crave. Out with the old, in with the new! Once we learn to replace artificial sugars with naturally derived ones, we begin craving the good, and the bad tastes “too sweet”. 
  • Home baked goods. You can utilize traditional recipes from your family AND control the amount of sugar (and everything else) in the ingredients! All while creating fun traditions with the family.

Remember the 4 R’s of Low-Waste Living

zero waste kitchen1. Refuse

As much as you can, refuse to buy products with excess packaging, or packaging that isn’t recyclable – like thin foils and plastics. 

2. Reduce

Reduce waste (and excess spending!) by creating your own Spring decorations. It’s also important to plan ahead to reduce unnecessary food waste. Planning meals in advance, getting portion sizes right and making use of the leftovers can all reduce waste.

3. Reuse

Look for products and packaging made from recycled material, and buy decorations second-hand from thrift shops. Sometimes the treasures you find secondhand are the ones that last the longest! Opting for reusable alternatives over disposable single-use products can greatly reduce your waste footprint.

4. Repurpose

Be creative with unwanted packaging: repurpose leftover boxes, containers or fruit cartons to package eggs or gifts, and molded plastic packaging to make your own chocolate gifts.

And, if you’re embellishing real egg shells (with natural dyes of course!), make sure the egg goes into a delicious omelet or frittata, not down the drain. Here’s some delicious recipes for the softest scrambled eggs you’ll ever eat & Cheesy Egg in a Basket to consider as well!

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