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Going Green for Easter

Green Easter Ideas

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Easter baskets, wrapped in cellophane with their plastic eggs and grass, have a somewhat disposable nature even while Easter represents so many ideas like resurrection, new life and renewal. Even if you're not making that many changes to your lifestyle, there are steps you can take toward a more environmentally friendly and responsible Easter celebration that will align well with the meaning of the holiday. Here's how:

1. Start with the Easter Basket

This year, instead of buying a new basket, reuse a basket from a previous year. Or find a second-hand basket: I saw an entire top shelf covered with Easter baskets at a local thrift store just last week. If you do buy a new basket this year, be sure to store it so it can be reused next year or passed on to a younger sibling or neighbor. If you're crafty, try making your own Easter basket by using materials you have at home that are headed for the trash or recycling bin anyway.

2. Choose Alternatives to Plastic Easter Grass

Plastic comes from petroleum and there are few uses for Easter grass after the holiday has come and gone. Instead, try lining the basket with paper from your shredder. If you don't have a shredder, try getting some shreds from a friend who works in an office. When you're done, you can recycle the paper or put it right into the compost bin. You could also reuse packing materials like bubble wrap or peanuts covered with a decorative cloth. Or why not make the basket lining part of the gift: Some soft treats could be pretty gloves, pairs of socks, decorative scarves, hair ribbons and headbands.

3. Make Better Choices for Chocolates and Treats

When choosing chocolates, try to choose brands that have the least amount of packaging, are organic, are made locally or that carry the Fair Trade logo. Better yet, make your own treats like egg-shaped cookies and suckers. If you're using plastic eggs, again, consider checking out the thrift store's toy section. It may take some sifting, but I see lots of these at my favorite stores all year long. Consider packing the eggs with little coupons redeemable for special time with you, a special dessert, movie ticket or that extra 15 minutes at bedtime your toddler is always trying to get out of you.

4. Use Natural Dyes Instead of Chemical Dyes for Easter Eggs

While the manufacture of dyes used in Easter egg coloring kits probably has a minimal impact on the environment, many of us are taking steps to a greener, healthier body by eliminating using chemicals and additives where we can, especially for our children. There's also the issue of excessive packaging. According to PAAS, they sell more than 10 million Easter egg dye kits each year. (And that's only about 40 percent of the market share, according to a report from Slate). That's a lot of packaging. This year, try using natural foods and spices that you probably already have on hand to dye your Easter Eggs. As an added bonus, you'll be showing your child that the science of coloring eggs can be more than a dye tablet in a cup of liquid.
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