Considering that Spring and Easter is a time when we celebrate the rebirth and regeneration of nature, it is quite surprising how much plastic and waste can be generated if we’re not more mindful.
There are ways to make Easter just as special but make it a kinder and more environmentally healthy way to celebrate. Don’t worry – we are definitely not talking about swapping chocolate for carrots batons!
Cut out the plastic
Recent viral reels and TikToks have been suggesting all sorts of crafts using plastic eggs purchased online from some of the quick and easy suppliers. Plastic kills over 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year, and world plastic production has doubled over the past 50 years. Let’s get back to basics and blow our own eggs! Paint the eggs as a great family activity, or have a go at some papier maché.
Try not to reach for the cheapest bulk option of real eggs however. Free-range hens (or as free range as current bird flu regulations allow) are fed an organic diet and so they are more nutritious and better for the planet. In fact, organic eggs have been found to contain three times more omega-3 fatty acids and 40% more vitamin A and twice as much vitamin E.
Not only can it be great fun as an activity, but also once Easter is over, you can pop the eggs into the compost bin or crush up the shells and use them as a cheap fertiliser for your garden.
Avoid food waste
If you choose to blow eggs and decorate with them then please avoid food waste as much as you can. Scrambled egg for breakfast? Omelettes? Meringues? There are loads of ways to use those eggs up!
Gift an experience rather than an object
These days there’s a worrying culture of materialism. Instead of giving toys and gifts at Easter, give some thought to an experience that you will all treasure. There are so many places that offer Easter activity, from craft to petting baby animals. The National Trust is always an eggcellent place to start.
Second-hand Easter egg basket
Rather than purchasing a new, plastic Easter basket like the ones we are being sold in abundance at our local supermarkets, head to your local reclamation centre or charity shop. There is bound to be something that you can re-purpose. If you are feeling particularly creative, you could even make your own little Easter bags from up-cycled clothing that you no longer wear!
Organic or fair-trade chocolate
You can’t do Easter and avoid chocolate! So let’s be mindful about where our chocolate comes from and the ingredients included within it. Sustainable Easter eggs are usually made with cocoa that’s been ethically sourced. These are often labelled as Fair-trade because the farmers are not being exploited but instead, being paid fairly. You can also buy vegan chocolate which is made using plant-based ingredients instead of dairy products.
It can sometimes be tricky to know what you are looking for, so the best thing is to see if there are certifications such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance. Both of these mean that the chocolate has been produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.
Think of buying dark chocolate as it requires less sugar and milk, meaning that it has a smaller carbon footprint than milk chocolate.
Try to ensure that the packaging is sustainable; recyclable, biodegradable, plastic-free, or produced using renewable energy. Look to buy locally made chocolate and do your bit to support local business and your community whilst also reducing the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of big brands.
It’s really important for the environment that you try to re-use as much as possible, and if you can’t, know how to recycle it properly. Do you know where everything should go? Clear plastic Easter egg containers should go in the glass/cans/plastic recycling. The foil which chocolate eggs are wrapped in is widely recycled in the UK and can go in the glass/cans/plastic recycling container. Try to scrunch it up into a ball and make sure it’s not covered in chocolate or it might not be able to be recycled. The cardboard boxes eggs come in should be put in the paper/card recycling but remove any plastic ‘windows’ from the box. Easter cards can be put in your paper/card bin/box – however, remove any areas which are covered in glitter/plastic or other decoration. Chocolate that is covered completely in foil and stays scrunched when you scrunch it up can be recycled in your glass/cans/plastic container but wrappers that are shiny plastic and sometimes have foil on one side (such as a Crunchie or Galaxy bar) should not be put in the kerbside recycling containers, and should go in your household waste bin.
Sustainable Easter outfits
If you like to dress up for Easter then please please avoid buying fast-fashion items online in order to do so. Try a second-hand store, or an re-use online shop, for high-quality, low price options that won’t introduce more waste. Head to your local charity shop, make your own or – choose to not dress up this year!
Taking time out of the office for the Easter holidays? Whether your office is a big building in the city or a spare bedroom at home, make sure that you turn off the lights and shut down your systems properly. A complete desktop uses an average of 200 Watt hours (Wh). This is the sum of the average consumption per hour of the computer itself (171 W), the internet modem (10 W), the printer (5 W) and the loudspeakers (20 W). Assuming that a computer is on for eight hours a day, the annual consumption comes to 600 kWh. That could be a lot of energy saved over a long Easter break!