Easter is just round the corner, it’s a long-weekend, and you are happy as a bunny already. So, why not make Mother Earth happy too? If you are not sure how, just follow our tips below to enjoy this festive season in a way that’s good for us and good for the environment. Christians celebrate Easter to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ after he was crucified on Good Friday. And thus every year, the Sunday after Good Friday is celebrated as Easter. This is also the end of the 40-day period of fasting called Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday. Thus, Easter comes as an occasion for merry-making, feasting, get-togethers, decorations, gifts, the excitement of egg hunts and delicious chocolate treats. So, here’s a list of ways in which you can make this happy time happier.
There’s no better way to make beautiful Easter memories than spending an afternoon crafting Easter bonnets with your family. But it can also be an opportunity to establish a new family tradition of sustainable decorations. And you can do that in so many ways:
1) ‘Green’ eggs: Instead of buying plastic eggs for decoration make your own at home using felt, wool, salt dough, or clay. Or if you prefer to buy, get eggs made of recyclable materials, like, wood, ceramic or glass.
2) Natural dyes: Replace acrylic paints with natural, plant-based dyes to lend colour to your Easter eggs. They are not just environment friendly but are a fun project, too. For example, you can use extracts of turmeric and saffron for yellow, beetroot and pomegranate for red, spinach for green, coffee for black, carrots for orange, and blueberries and red cabbage for blue/purple.
3) Baskets and grass: Use a cane basket instead of a plastic one to keep the eggs. And use tissue paper shreds, wool, moss or twine to make grass at home rather than buying plastic grass for your Easter basket. It is inexpensive, fun to make and, yes, greener!!
Think Before You Gift
Easter is a time for meeting family and friends, having good food together, and exchanging gifts and chocolates. This year, take a pledge to be conscious about our environment as you exchange gifts.
1) Buy Fairtrade chocolate with NO palm oil: Easter and chocolates are inseparable. But chocolate eggs and bunnies in most super-market aisles abound in sneaky palm oil and cocoa grown under environmentally unsustainable conditions, exploitative practices and
forced labour. So by buying fair-trade Easter chocolate we are not only choosing a good quality product but also taking a stand against deforestation, human trafficking, and child labour. Many stores in Australia, like, Aldi, Coles, Chocolatier Australia, Haigh’s Chocolates,
etc. sell fairtrade chocolate. Look for chocolates with Fairtrade (fairtrade.com.au), UTZ (utz.org), or Rainforest Alliance (rainforest-alliance.org) certification on the packets.
2) Un-wrap: Lots of gifts means lots of unnecessary waste: chocolate wrappings, gift wraps, cardboard boxes. To prevent this, try to find gifts with less or bio-degradable packaging. Look for chocolates packed in more tin-foil, less plastic and cardboard. Also, foil that enters
the recycling in little scraps doesn’t get picked up. So, keep a bowl on the kitchen counter and ask everyone to put their empty wrappers there. Then scrunch it up in a big ball to go in the recycling bin. You can also up-cycle any non-recyclable waste– take to Pinterest for
3) Gifts that breathe: Get creative with your gifts this Easter. Instead of store-bought packaged gifts give someone a live-gift they can nurture and cherish: a planter with flower seedlings, an egg-shaped seed bomb, a mini-herb garden, a colourful succulent garden in a
pot, chickens which will grow up to provide organic eggs at home, live bunnies as pets, the list is endless.
4) Donate to a green charity: This Easter consider donating to a local environmental cause or a charity of your liking, as a way to express your gratitude.
Celebrations and family gatherings don’t have to mean a mound of waste. You can choose to celebrate in an environmentally-friendly manner and cut waste.
1) Feast local: Everyone loves a lavish Easter feast. Why not take up the challenge to cook your Easter brunch or dinner using only locally sourced ingredients this year? Buy from local, and farmer’s markets. This would mean your food has travelled less miles and has
lesser carbon footprint. Check out www.localharvest.org.au to find good food close to you
2) Compostable cutlery: Instead of using single-use plastic and styrofoam disposable cups, plates, and cutlery, opt for stuff that is non-toxic, bio-degradable, and eco-friendly. A range of options are now available made from compostable materials like, bamboo pulp, sugarcane pulp, palm leaves, PLA (Poly lactic acid), PSM (70% plant based Bio-plastic, 30% conventional plastic), etc. You can even get paper straws. And what’s more they won’t even burn a hole in your pocket.
3) Donate leftover food: If you can’t finish it all why not share it with someone in need? Donating left-over food is a great way of contributing to the community and can mean not going empty-stomach for an individual or family. There are charities that rescues excess food, which would otherwise be discarded, and distribute it to people in need.
4) Recycle decorations: Most decorations, like streamers, banners, buntings, pinatas, party hats, tiaras and masks, are pretty sturdy and can easily be stored and used again. This would not only save you some monies at the next party but would also mean good, reusable stuff doesn’t go in the trash. Also, you can even go for green, organic decorations like flowers from the local florist, herb pots, and even flowers and branches from your own garden.
Interesting Easter Fact
Easter Witches That sounds more like Halloween than Easter, isn’t it? But it’s true. In Sweden and Finland, little girls dress up as raggedy witches and go door to door with a copper kettle exchanging Easter drawings for treats. The tradition comes from old stories that on the Thursday before Easter, witches boarded a broom and flew to a German mountain to meet Satan. And people would light fires to scare them away on their way back. The practice is now honoured by bonfires and fireworks across the country over the Easter weekend. So if you happen to be in Sweden around the time of Easter don’t be surprised if you see tiny colourful witches along with eggs and bunnies. Just give them a treat!