Easter can turn into one big plastic trash pile if you’re not careful. Go Easter shopping anywhere and you’re likely to be overwhelmed by plastic eggs, plastic grass, plastic baskets, plastic bunny rabbits, plastic Pez candy dispensers, plastic ducks, and plastic bags that hold all this stuff.
By the end of Easter Sunday, you’ll be left with a lot of plastic trash, much of which you can’t recycle. If it were Christmas, I’d say, “Bah! Humbug!!” But it’s Easter, so instead, I’ve pulled together this list of plastic-free options that won’t take the fun out of Easter.
How to Celebrate Easter Plastic-Free
Real Woven Easter Baskets
⇒ Use a basket made from real wicker, wood, fabric, or bamboo rather than something molded from plastic. Use a basket you already have!
⇒ Don’t think it looks Easter-y enough? Wrap the handle with pink, purple, yellow and white ribbons, and tuck fresh flowers or greenery here and there to make it more festive.
⇒ You can also wrap the basket itself in cotton fabric that’s printed with an Easter theme.
⇒ If I have to get a new basket, I buy one that I can repurpose after Easter for serving food (bread, rolls, crackers, whole fruit), holding kitchen utensils, or otherwise helping me control clutter in my home.
Easter “Grass” from Recycled Paper
⇒ Instead of stuffing Easter baskets with grass that’s actually shredded plastic, celebrate Easter plastic-free with by using shredded, colored paper that can be recycled when Easter is over.
⇒ A beautiful Easter-themed cloth napkin does the trick, too. Use it to line the inside of the basket, and then create folds in which to hide Easter goodies.
⇒ Next year, start about a month before Easter and grow real grass you can put in the basket, then transplant outside.
Actual Easter Eggs
⇒ There are lots of yummy candy Easter eggs that come wrapped in aluminum foil or paper, both of which you can recycle.
⇒ And of course, you can dye real eggs to put in baskets or hide for a hunt.
⇒ But what’s a good alternative to the nasty, empty plastic eggs used to hide treats inside? A company called EcoEggs makes refillable eggs from non-toxic plant-based plastic in five colors: pink, yellow, green, blue and purple.
The eggs can be used for many years, then composted in an industrial compost facility.
⇒ If you’re good with crafts and have the time, you can fashion your own eggs out of felt and tuck little surprises in their pockets.
↓ If you do end up using plastic eggs, don’t put loose candy like jelly beans in them. The plastic may contain chemicals like BPA, which you don’t want to eat. It’s better to use wrapped treats, or items (erasers? earrings? money?) that no one will eat. After Easter, put them in a sealed bag so you can use them again next year.
No Live Easter Bunnies, Baby Chicks, or Other Animals
⇒ To celebrate Easter plastic-free, resist the cute but plast-icky rabbits, ducks, birds, and other animals some people like to stick in baskets or make part of an Easter display.
⇒ Whatever you do, don’t buy a live baby chick that’s been dyed pink or purple – that’s just downright cruel, and besides, what will you do with the chick when it starts to grow into a chicken?
⇒Better alternatives: stuffed cloth animals, figures crafted from weather-proof aluminum or metal that you can put out in the garden or on your porch or patio, puppets…be creative!
Living Easter Decorations
⇒ Why buy plastic flowers when you can display a blooming potted azalea, a pot full of tulips or daffodils, or a fragrant Easter lily?
⇒ Azaleas and lilies can be planted in your yard when danger of frost has passed, so you can enjoy them year after year.
⇒ Make (or buy) a door wreath made from seasonal dried flowers; you should be able to use it for many holidays, refreshing it from time to time with new flowers or ribbons as needed.
Organic Easter Candy
⇒ Skip the plastic candy dispensers, spinning plastic tops, Easter “treasure chests,” and other plastic containers designed to last just about as long as the candy they contain.
⇒ Choose organic chocolate and candy flavored and colored with natural fruits rather than high fructose corn syrup
⇒ Buy bagged candy in bulk to cut down on waste.
How do you celebrate a “green” or plastic-free Easter? Please share!