Wait! Before buying harsh, chemical egg dyes, and plastic eggs and grass, remember that Easter and Earth Day are just a few days apart. There are easy ways your family can celebrate this glorious season and still be good to Mother Earth. It can be as simple as raiding your crafting nook and spice drawer, and reading the ingredient labels on your Easter treats.
For example, if bunnies or egg-shaped chocolate candy are Easter basket must-haves, choose varieties made with responsibly sourced ingredients such as Fair Trade cocoa beans and all-natural, non-GMO Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil. These will satisfy your sweet tooth and your need to care for the planet.
Here are 5 more tips to having an earth-friendly Easter:
Make or buy a reusable Easter basket
When my first daughter was a baby, I got a giant basket from our thrift store and decorated it. We have been using this basket for every Easter we’ve celebrated since she was born.
I also got two smaller Easter baskets for the Easter egg hunts and we reuse those every year. There is no need to buy a new basket every year and then discard it. Everything we discard ends up in the landfill and hurting our Earth in the long run.
If your children like to have new baskets every year, you can just decorate your old basket so it looks like new every year. Use tulle fabric, ribbons and any other decorations they might like to make their Easter basket look like new this year.
Choose earth-friendly basket fillers
Use shredded paper in this year’s Easter basket unless you have oodles of cellophane left over from previous years.
If you don’t have a paper shredder (or have one that shreds too finely for your liking), make your own by cutting ¼-inch strips from colorful junk mail. Another option is to use cotton yarn. It’s soft and cradles eggs gently. Plus, it can be knitted or crocheted into something new when the season is over, or simply reused next season.
Shop for certified sustainable candy products
Those tasty seasonal candies always aren’t the best for our planet. Choose jelly beans made without synthetic dyes, artificial colors and high-fructose corn syrup, which is commonly made with genetically modified corn.
When it comes to chocolate confections, I personally prefer to get organic chocolates and candy. But if that’s not in your budget, American candy companies such as Hershey’s, Ghirardelli and Nestle have committed to using responsibly sourced ingredients such as cocoa and palm oil. Much of the palm oil used in the United States is sustainably grown and produced in Malaysia, one of the world’s most eco-friendly countries. So, stick to those brands!
There are many all-natural dyes that you can make with ingredients you will find in your kitchen. Simply simmer the food or spice with three cups of water, two tablespoons of white vinegar and one teaspoon of salt for 30 minutes or until desired color is reached.
Strain the mixture, and then add your hard-boiled eggs to the dye. Leave your eggs in the solution for at least 20 minutes or even overnight (in the fridge) for a deeper color. If you want a more vibrant, shiny color, rub your eggs with a small amount of Malaysian palm oil once they are completely dry.
Here are a few foods you can use to dye your eggs naturally:
3 tablespoons turmeric or cumin: yellow
1 cup finely-chopped spinach: green
½-cup red beets: pink
1-cup thinly sliced red cabbage: blue
Peels from two yellow onions: orange
Fill your child’s Easter basket with useful things and toys
If the Easter bunny leaves a present for your children every year, make sure these presents are things that will be used more than once. There are a lot of Easter toys that just end up in the garbage after Easter, adding even more stuff to our landfills.
Instead of getting your child several little toys, get them one bigger toy they will love and play with more often such as books, healthy snacks or get them things they need, like clothes, shoes or summer gear!
By making these simple changes you are helping our environment and teaching your children valuable lessons on how to be more earth-friendly while still enjoying a nice Easter celebration.
About the author: Blogger and TV contributor Carolina King is founder of Mama Instincts and The Mama Instincts Podcast, the ultimate resource for the natural and conscious mom.