As with most celebrations, Easter is an occasion that generates a lot of waste — and while avoidable much of that waste is single use plastic. Perhaps this Easter we can take the effort to make conscious purchasing decisions to reduce our waste.
Below we cover 5 ways ways to help reduce plastic consumption over the Easter long weekend:
1. Conscious Purchases
The Easter weekend begins with the shops. Of course there is chocolate to be purchased, and if you’re having guests over for lunch or dinner, there’s lots of food to be purchased.
When you hit the shops this long weekend there are a couple of things you can do to skip the single use plastic.
- When purchasing Easter eggs look for chocolate eggs that aren’t packaged in plastic, instead opt for eggs that are either wrapped only in foil, or seek out larger chocolate eggs where the foil wrapped egg is packaged cardboard (without the plastic).
- Like any other day of the year when hitting the shops remember to take your reusable bags and avoid products that are packaged in plastic — yes that includes soda that comes in plastic bottles. While they may be recyclable remember — only 9% of plastic actually gets recycled in Australia.
2. Create a Foil Ball
Make recycling fun by asking everyone to contribute to the Easter foil ball. Take foil wrapped around Easter eggs and place them in a bowl, as the contents of the bowl grows, start wrapping the larger foil pieces around the smaller chocolate wrappers —scrunch the foil with your hands to create a foil ball.
Another suggestion is to place the small foil wrappers inside an aluminium can so the contents and the can be crushed and recycled together.
Unlike plastic, aluminium foil can be recycled over and over again. In fact, Australia is the ranked fifth in the world for aluminium recycling, recycling up to 70% of aluminium cans.
It's best to check with your City Council to confirm that a ball of foil and/or the wrappers inside a can is accepted in your councils recycling facilities.
3. DIY Decorated Eggs
Decorating eggs can be a fun activity to do with the kids, or an easy DIY for decorating the dining room table or kitchen area. We aren’t talking about the chocolate variety of eggs here (though you could do that as well), what we’re talking about is a pretty hard-boiled egg or using an empty egg shell.
To make coloured decorative eggs:
- Boil the eggs, then allow to cool.
- Make a few different coloured natural food dyes with ingredients such as coffee (brown), turmeric (yellow), dehydrated greens (green) or cabbage (red).
- Mix the aforementioned products with water, and dip each egg into the colour of your choice.
- Place eggs back into the cardboard egg carton and allow to dry.
For a little extra fun you could also add smiley faces to decorate your coloured eggs 🙂
Not only are these eggs a lovely decoration for the dinner table you can choose to crack them open for dinner, or put them in the fridge to enjoy for lunch the next day.
To make herb egg shell hair:
Create a clean crack in an egg — (be sure to use the egg yolk and whites in your cooking). Decorate the shells with smiling faces, then addd your favourite herbs to the shells for the egg hair.
If you're not wanting to use the herbs for your cooking after they've been on display, be sure to place both the egg shells and the "green hair" into your home compost bin — your garden will be happy you did.
4. DIY Chocolate Treats
If you’re vegan or you have vegan guests, hard boiled eggs likely won’t be on the Easter menu or be used for decorations — why not make your own chocolate treats instead? Creating chocolate treats is also a super fun activity to do with the kids.
Instead of making an actual egg as a simple easter treat or dessert, dip some fresh strawberries or other fresh fruit in melted chocolate.
Either melt down a bar of store bought chocolate, or venture out and make your own vegan chocolate.
Be sure to look for fruit that’s not packaged in plastic!
5. Plastic Wrapped Easter Gifts
Not everything is within our control. When you’ve gone out of your way to avoid purchasing as much plastic as possible for your Easter weekend, it can be a bit of a downer when someone gifts you a box of chocolates (covered in plastic wrap, with a plastic insert to house the chocolates), or a large chocolate egg packaged in a thick non-recyclable plastic shell. There goes your plastic free weekend.
We can choose to get annoyed at the situation.
We can choose to accept the gift for what it is.
Or we can choose to use this as a time to educate others about why you opt to skip the plastic. But it’s important to remember — there’s a time and place, and you have to pick your battles! Saying no to your neighbours gift and giving them an explanation of why, may not go down as well as if you said no to your sisters Easter egg gift covered in plastic packaging.
Whatever you choose to do this Easter weekend, make sure it’s an enjoyable one and do your best to a) not eat too much chocolate and b) reduce your plastic waste where you can — you won’t always succeed at either but you’ll feel better knowing you tried!
Have a Happy Easter ????
Author Bio - Catherine Anne Earle
Thanks for reading. I'm Cathy the founder of EORTH Australia, an online store that stocks only plastic free products.
I started EORTH after participating in a Plastic Free July many years ago. A few days into the Plastic Free July challenge I soon became aware of just how damaging plastics were to the environment, and although I was conscious of my consumer choices, products packaged in single use plastic and household products from of plastic materials were still very high on my list of purchases.
After lengthy searches for alternatives to plastic products I soon realised that there were a lot of eco stores that sold some plastic free products, but very few really got down to the heart of the plastics issues and said a big hard "no" to selling products that contained plastics — and that is exactly what EORTH is all about.
I have a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Management and was the owner and founder of Sun Peaks Independent News, a community newspaper based in British Columbia, Canada.
After moving back to Australia several years ago I now reside in Palm Cove a beachside suburb in my hometown of Cairns — the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.