Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Have an Eco-Friendly Easter

When you think of Easter gifts, what comes to mind? Plastic baskets, filled with plastic grass and plastic toys and candies made with high fructose corn syrup and lots of other artificial yucky stuff. I don't know about you, but I'm done with those things. With less than 2 weeks till Easter, let’s look into some ways that you can make your Easter celebration more green and eco-friendly.

Coloring Easter Eggs. It's hard to resist the traditional egg dying kits adorned with cute litle bunnies that make egg coloring so darn easy. But I have to onder, what the heck is in those fizzing little tablets? So I am skipping them from now on along with other artificial food colorings, even ones from the grocery store. Personally I am trying to limit Why? Well for one, Red Dye #40 is thought to cause behavioral issues in children. Not that anyone is eating egg shells, but you don’t know what can leak into the egg and in general, I just like to avoid it. Visit your natural food store of choice and see if they carry some all natural food coloring. In my online searches, unfortunately they do tend to be a bit pricey. Though I did find a plant based egg dye kit at Nova Naturals.

Feeling a little daring? You can also try using foods to color your eggs. You will need several stainless steel pots, one for every color, water, white vinegar and of course eggs. For colors, you can use the following:
Red onion skins (for red)
Yellow onion skins (for orange)
Red cabbage (for blue)
Spinach (for green)
Carrot tops, orange peels or lemon peels (for yellow)
Purple grape juice (for lavender)
Beets or cranberries (for pink)

Put enough water in the pot to cover your eggs and add one teaspoon and the item you are using for the dye. Bring your eggs to a boil and then let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Not only is this natural, it is also fun and educational for your kiddos. If you have compost, you can throw the scraps of onion skins, spinach, etc. right in. I haven’t decided if I want to color eggs this year, but if I do, I’ll be sure to take pictures to share.

Baskets. Head into most stores right about now and you’ll find loads of plastic baskets. Now instead you could make your own, but personally I am not gifted enough to do that. I bought some wood Easter baskets a few years back and I just reuse them every year. They are not a very green choice, but I already have them so I’m gonna use them. Another idea I had was buying a reusable shopping bag and then putting all the goodies inside. Envirosax has a cute line of kids themed bags that I think would be perfect, and then they can be reused over and over. I actually really like his idea.

Easter Grass. Please, please skip the plastic grass. After you toss it in your garbage it is going to sit in a land fill for thousands of years. I’ve read some things about growing some real grass to put in your baskets. Pretty neat idea. But I found another one that I like even better – shredded paper! We have a stack of old documents waiting for me to run them through the shredder so how cool to be able to actually put those into use. I can fill the baskets with the shredded paper and then toss them in the recycling bin when we’re done with them. Love it! Even better would be to add it to your compost (I really need one of these). Now shredded documents might not look very much like grass, so I see nothing wrong with shredding up some green paper, as long as it is recyclable paper.

Candy. Now I am not one of those crazy people that doesn’t let my kids have treats every now and then. Heck I am a chocoholic so it would be quite hypocritical of me to forbid it. I just don’t like to give them sweets filled with artificial colors and flavors. Instead, go for organic candies like Surf Sweets who has some yummy jelly beans. If you are looking for some lollipops, check out Yummy Earth. Best lollipops I have ever had. And Easter is not complete without chocolate right? This time opt for some that is fair-trade and organic. I just came across Sweet Earth Organic Chocolate online who has some really cute Easter chocolates. Once again your local natural food store should have something yummy or head to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Oh what I wouldn’t give to have either of these near me. {sigh}

Toys. Now this is the point where I ask myself “do the kids really need more toys?” The answer is no. And they certainly don’t need cheapie plastic toys. How about a good book instead? Or maybe some art supplies? Stubby Pencil Studio has tons of eco-friendly art supplies and other eco-friendly toys. They even has a section dedicated to Easter where you can pick a basket and the goodies to go in it. If you want to go the book route, I have had great success at the Target Dollar Spot. They almost always have some small books in there. I recently got the boys some animal/science books that I tucked away just for Easter.

So there you have it, just a few tips to have an eco-friendly Easter. Do you have any tips of your own? If so, I would LOVE to hear them. So please share them with us and have a happy, hoppin, green Easter!


  1. Hi,

    Fabulous to have a Eco-friendly Easter! Love the idea of using shredded paper as grass. You could color it using green "food" color. Paper does dry rather quickly! Another idea is to use half a egg box/carton (half dozen) as a Easter Egg Basket. Make the handle from "old" paper. Not sure how to go about describing "how to", my 4 year old loves making chains out of 2 long strips of paper which gets folded over each other! Does that make sense? Hopefully you remember doing it when you where a "children"! Embellish with paper flowers & put in "shredded" grass.

    Have a super fabulous Easter!

  2. Oh I like the egg carton basket idea. thanks for sharing!

  3. I'll be laying down a green playsilk at the bottom of my son's (second hand, wooden) basket. We reuse the same basket year after year, and my mom did the same thing - I had the same Easter basket from the time I was a tiny little girl until I was moved out of the house and arguably too old for an Easter basket!

  4. These are great ideas, especially the reusable bags. I've dyed my eggs for years with onion skins and beets with nice results. I'm partial to subtle colors anyway.

  5. Great ideas! I love the coloring eggs ideas.

  6. Hi. Glad you'll be joining the Green Moms Carnival this month. I love the shredded paper instead of plastic grass idea. One thing to keep in mind: shredded paper is not so great at most recycling facilities. Better in the compost. Why? Because the shredded paper makes a mess and flies everywhere. I've seen this with my own eyes. Large quantities of baled shredded paper from businesses is one thing. Little bits dumped in our home recycling bins, though, is not so great. I compost mine, as it's great "brown" material.

  7. Thank you so much for pointing that out about shredded paper!

  8. Hi, that's quite an interesting post

  9. Great Ideas! I will check out those websites.
    Another good idea for lining the baskets is a bright possibly Easter themed fabric - you could use it every year and wash it in between uses (if necessary).

  10. What a wonderful article, I love all the Envirosax bags!

  11. We're already a little green, we've had the same Easter Baskets since we were little :)

  12. I'm definitely going green this easter!
    - Paige @ Green Global Travel


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