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Zero Waste Easter with Kids

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One of the main critiques of the zero waste movement is that it’s not affordable or relatable to most people, especially families. I completely agree with this sentiment. Many of the zero wasters I follow are single or coupled without children, which makes sense. Going zero waste takes research, time, and money. It takes even more research and preparation for a family. The lovely Bea Johnson makes zero waste with kids look easy, but it’s not (at least not for me). Planning a zero waste Easter for my kids has been an education. I have had several zero waste fails. Last year, I purchased plant-based plastic Easter eggs. I soon learned that plant-based plastics are still plastics and can be worse than traditional plastic.

My younger sister would tell me “you won’t understand until you have own kids.” I absolutely hated when she said that. She had children at a young age. My husband and I had our kids in our mid to late 30s, enjoying our 20’s and early 30’s as dual income no kids (DINKs). Two kids later, I can attest that I completely underestimated how much of a lifestyle change we would go through after our first child. It’s nothing less than a shock to your system. You eventually adjust. It does get better. I recently read a study that parents eventually get a full night’s sleep (when their kids turn 6 years old). I’m currently in the thick of it with a 5-year-old and a nine-month-old. Neither of us get much sleep. We typically come home after a long day of work, pick up our kids, feed them, bathe them, then fall into bed ourselves–only to be woken up in the middle of the night and start the process all over again.

Parenthood isn’t that hard. Right?

Video from The Dad Online on Facebook

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If we want to introduce people to the zero waste movement, we have to make the zero waste lifestyle more relatable and affordable to people with low incomes or large families, as these individuals use a large percentage of their income on consumables. There are some scenarios in which a low-waste solution is truly the best option. So how do we balance a family as a zero waster? Listed below are some of my favorite Easter holiday activities with a zero waste twist. I’m looking forward to adding to this post in the future.

Wooden Fillable Easter Eggs

<img src="wooden-easter-eggs-fillable-open.jpg" alt="zero waste easter wooden fillable eggs open">
Image from Best Pysanky

I found these wonderful Easter eggs on BestPysanky.com for $1.40/egg. Best Pysanky is a shop based in Illinois. They sell beautiful nesting dolls, snow globes, ornaments, and other treasures. I’ve seen various iterations of wood easter eggs, but many do not open (ergo they are not fillable). Best Pysanky is also selling eggs on Amazon and Walmart, but for some reason the prices on Amazon and Walmart are more than on their website. I purchased 20 eggs for $28 and paid $13.20 in shipping.

Candy & Treats

<img src="whoppers-mini-chocolate-robin-eggs.jpg" alt="candy chocolate zero waste easter">
Image from Target

Some of the zero waste suggestions for purchasing candy for trick or treaters or Easter are ridiculous and expensive. I don’t know many people who can afford a $50 bag of candy? Maybe before I had kids… Yes, the best method of purchasing candy without plastic packaging is bulk shopping. That still doesn’t eliminate packaging. The grocery store purchases candy in some form of packaging (likely plastic). By purchasing candy in bulk, you’re leaving your packaging at the store (and hopefully using less packaging overall), but you are not eliminating plastic packaging. U.S. Stores like Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Sprouts, Wegmans, Tops Market, and Winco have bulk bins. (See here for Canada, UK, Australia, Worldwide).

Admittedly, if I’m having a busy week I may not be able to get to the store. Another option is candy in paper boxes, foil wrappers, or in bulk packaging (e.g. Costco). Not to be confused with bulk shopping. Sometimes purchasing an item in bulk plastic packaging is more eco-friendly than shipping it from halfway around the world. In general my rule of thumb is to avoid candy with individual packaging (other than foil). Non-foil candy wrappers are not recyclable (unless you recycle them with a specialty recycler like TerraCycle).

I’ve listed below a sampling of candy in bulk packaging or wrapped in foil. To recycle your foil packaging, ball up the individual foil wrappers into a larger piece of foil. Aluminum is a valuable material and it can be recycled over and over again. Some aluminum in the system is from the 1800s.

*Good and Plenty
*Skittles
*Peanut M&Ms
*Hershey Kisses individually wrapped in foil
*Mini-chocolate Easter eggs individually wrapped in foil
*Fairtrade Milk Chocolate Coins in a mesh bag, individually wrapped in foil
*Whoppers Mini Robin Eggs in a 4 oz. carton
*Jelly beans (2 lbs)
*Cheddar Goldfish in a carton from Walmart or in large bags from Boxed.

Easter Baskets

<img src="weaved-basket.jpg" alt="zero waste easter basket">
Image from World Market

A simple wooden basket from Michaels, World Trade Market, Target, or any major retailer would suffice, but I wanted something with a dual purpose. My kids are always putting something in a tote bag. So I purchased two personalized canvas tote bags from Etsy. In lieu of Easter grass you can use cloth towels or if you really love the feel of Easter grass, use green shredded paper. The shredded paper does come in a plastic bag (which can be recycled at the grocery store), but it’s better than plastic grass.

RELATED CONTENT: The biggest disposable plastic producers in the world.

Clothing

<img src="pink-elephant-organics-easter-dress.jpg" alt="zero waste easter organic cotton dress">
Image from Pink Elephant Organics

You do not have to purchase from a fancy online clothing boutique for Easter Sunday clothing. In lieu of searching for a store, I recommend shopping second hand at a thrift store or look for Organic, Fair Trade, or GOTS Certified Cotton labels. I purchased several baby sleepers from Burt’s Bees for very reasonable prices. I also purchased organic baby clothing from Target, Walmart, Kohls, Carters, and Amazon. Target has an extensive organic baby collection.

Buying organic clothing IS more expensive, but it doesn’t have to be AS expensive if you know where to look. The reason clothing produced in sweatshop conditions is so cheap is because…it’s produced in a sweatshop. Clothing labeled organic also has restrictions on certain chemical inputs. I have seen more than a few articles about how our clothing is full of plastics. I purchased my daughter’s Easter Sunday dress from Elephant Organics and received 15% off with my order and free shipping.

* Garnet Hill Kids
*The Elephant Organics
*Tea Collection
*Amazon

Activities

<img src="sam-haddad-752067-unsplash.jpg" alt="zero waste easter activities">
Image by Sam Haddad on Unsplash

*Chalk
*Bake cookies
*Decorate eggs. I love this blogger’s suggestions for dyeing eggs naturally.
*Play a board game
*Make homemade play dough (with the natural dyes listed above)

Food

<img src="vernon-raineil-cenzon-1236186-unsplash.jpg" alt="zero waste easter dinner">
Image from Vernon Raineil Cenzon on Unsplash

Have a meatless Easter dinner or purchase meat locally. Animal-based diets are less physically healthy (on average) and worse for the environment. I’m transitioning to a plant-based died, however, my family is not vegetarian. Full disclosure: I will purchase an Easter ham from a local butcher. Admittedly local butchers are few and far between. I will also be incorporating a few of these vegetarian ideas in our Easter dinner.

RELATED CONTENT: Best zero-waste milk options.

*Use those hardboiled eggs for Deviled eggs
*Creamy spring peas
*Roasted asparagus with peas
*Pasta salad
*Cucumber sandwiches (white bread, cucumbers, cream cheese, Italian seasoning)
*Homemade pimento cheese
*Fresh lemonade
*Potato pancakes
*Braided Easter bread
*Eggplant bake
*Quinoa stuffing
*Ginger carrot soup
*Pralined sweet potatoes
*Crispy Breaded Chickpea Cutlets in a Savory Mushroom Gravy

Enjoy the Day

<img src="kelly-sikkema-543215-unsplash.jpg" alt="enjoy zero waste easter family">
Image from Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Unlike stuff, time is truly invaluable. Even the richest people in the world cannot buy more time. Enjoying the day with family, friends, food, and fun is truly the best Easter gift you can give your kids. in the age of digital media, there are so many distractions. Easter is a nice day to slow down, enjoy the moment, and rest.

My Favorite Easter Scripture

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” Luke 23:46-47




#zerowasteeaster #holidays #zerowasteliving, #plasticfree, #ecofriendly

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