What is eco-friendly about Easter? Hmmm…well, not too much. Even though it is not the most offensive holiday for inspiring reckless consumption, it has its share of eco-maybe-not-so-friendly traditions. Cheap plastic eggs, plastic grass, candy with too much sugar and loaded with artificial coloring and flavors. Well, at least most Easter egg hunts take place in the great outdoors so that’s a start! Here are a few simple things you can do with your children to celebrate a Greener Easter.
*NATURAL EASTER EGG DYE
What’s in the dyes that come in Easter egg-decorating kits? Mostly food coloring contains chemicals that can cause allergy symptoms or sensitivities and may include a suspected carcinogen. Commercial food coloring has also been linked to health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD. In some countries, food dyes are illegal! So, how do you make food dyes you can use to dye your eggs? It’s easier than it might sound and it’s fun for the whole family.
-Pink/red: Beets, cranberries/cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, red grape juice, red onion skins, rhubarb stalks (chopped), raspberries, some types of tea
-Orange: Yellow onion skins (from about 12 onions), paprika, chili powder
-Yellow: Lemon peels, orange peels, carrots (shredded), cumin (ground), turmeric (ground)
-Green: Spinach, some types of tea, golden delicious apple skins (may be a green/yellow)
-Blue: Blueberries/blueberry juice, purple grape juice, red cabbage, blackberries
-Purple: Violet blossoms + 2 tsp lemon juice, hibiscus tea
-Brown: Strong black coffee, tea, dill seeds, black walnut shells
(**hey, pssst: Don’t miss this fun, easy and natural easter egg craft care of the Little Picasso Studio. Get the scoop on this do-it-together activity here).
*CHOOSE ‘THE GOOD STUFF’
When choosing chocolates, go for the brands that have the least amount of packaging. Easter eggs are one of the most over-packaged products on the market. And steer clear of high fructose corn syrup and artificial options and find organic or Fair Trade options or better yet, make your own treats like egg-shaped cookies.
*GET RID OF THE PLASTIC
I do confess that I have fabulous memories of Easter egg hunts in my grandmother’s backyard, looking endlessly for those well hidden plastic eggs. But my memories would be no less magical without the plastic! Plastic comes from petroleum. Unless you use the same set of plastic grass and eggs every year, why not create traditions that don’t require plastic grass and eggs? You can use a paper shredder to shred recycled paper and use it in your basket instead of synthetic grass. And you can wrap treats in ribbon that can be reused or colorful tissue paper that can be recycled.
Make your own basket or invest in a nice basket that can be used year after year. Buy or make a special one that you will be happy to pull out each year!
And most importantly ENJOY!