A More Sustainable Easter Basket

basket, gifts, grass, candy, bread,

I would like someone to deliver this basket to me, please. Photo: mistagregory

If your kids are expecting a visit from the Easter Bunny, now’s a good time to alert the rabbit to the fact that your household would appreciate a little less waste than usual.

The “Basket”

Sure, we call it a basket, but it’s just as common nowadays to see a plastic bucket or toy stand in as a container for the Easter eggs. If your kids are in need of a new basket, get ‘em a real live basket made of wicker (not plastic!). Not only are these made from natural materials, but they last forever (truly, I still have mine from when I was a child), and will decompose if they become unusable. Look for one with a natural finish instead of a shiny, varnished one.

The Filler

For goodness, gracious sake. Whatever you do, do not buy plastic grass. You can get biodegradable Easter grass. You can use raffia. Or tissue paper. Or, in a pinch, the tax papers you just ran through your paper shredder. But don’t use plastic grass!

The Goods

As with plastic grass, may I also insist on no plastic Easter eggs? If, in a misguided moment prior to the greening of your household, you purchased plastic eggs and have saved them, then I’ll give you a pass. If you plan to color eggs, check out this post about natural dyes (and a recipe for chocolate) over at Spoonfed.

If your Easter Bunny is, like mine, trying to avoid both plastic and high fructose corn syrup, good luck! she’ll need to put forth some serious effort and wear magnifying glasses to read the fine print ingredients. Instead of a chocolate bunny encased in plastic and then a plastic-coated box, try to find a chocolate bunny wrapped in foil.  Instead of fun-sized candy wrapped in plastic, splurge on a single fair trade chocolate bar. (It seems like the higher end, more expensive chocolates are also those that come in more environmentally-friendly packaging.) Take a glass jar or paper bag to the bulk food aisle and pick up jelly beans. Or, tell the Easter Bunny to get busy and whip up some homemade versions of Easter basket candy:

Note that these are not healthy, necessarily, but there’s much less waste with homemade. And the recipes that call for corn syrup? I’d simply swap it out for honey, but note that I’m kind of crazy that way in the kitchen.

Skip the plastic tchochkes this year. Think about alternative gifts that will actually be used. Why not give a pair of kid-sized gloves and garden seeds? Or some books (authors love to convince people to buy books as gifts, have you noticed that)? Or a puzzle?

What tactics do you plan to use to make your Easter celebration more sustainable?

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  • Great list! If you want to get some egg dyeing in, you can always dye them in a eco-friendly way ON THE INSIDE like these crackle dyed Chinese Tea Eggs at http://frugalkiwi.co.nz/2009/09/hard-boiled-chinese-tea-eggs/

  • Super post! I also want to suggest picking up a basket at the local swap shop.

  • Great post! Easter is traditionally such a non-green holiday! I’m giving away a copy of “The Green Year” this weekend over at Living Large, which could help your readers learn more about little things they can do each and every day!

  • Kerry ,

    I’m especially enjoying the photograph, because one of the things we always do for Easter is make a special bread. a fine tradtion to share as well.

  • Oh thank you for this! I was just thinking about getting some baskets for the teenagers (because you’re never too old to get an Easter basket), but lamenting all the waste. I’ll take your wise advice.

  • I use thin paper strips for grass. And I save the same baskets year to year so no need to buy new ones!

  • This brings back so many good memories of having young kids and dyeing eggs. Clinging to the memories till somebody shows up with grandchildren.

  • What great sustainable ideas. It makes me wish I had little ones coming for the Easter holiday.

  • Susan ,

    Love the photo! I couldn’t agree more that plastic grass is wholly unnecessary.

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      Unnecessary, and yet that’s ALL my local grocery store was offering.

  • We used hay in our baskets, and bought most of the candies without any packaging by going to a chocolate shop that handed us each item so it was not individually wrapped. Great post, by the way. And OMG, I want that basket too!!

    (On the subject of high fructose corn syrup, etc. I was just musing about how harmful the “food” we put into our bodies is and the out of control portion distortion: http://jennifermargulis.net/blog/2011/04/are-we-a-nation-of-fat-people/)

    • Kris Bordessa ,

      Hay! I hadn’t thought of that as a replacement. Smart, smart.

  • sarah henry ,

    Have never understood that fake grass stuff — WTF? Thought it was a cultural thing, glad to hear someone else call it out. What’s wrong with tissue paper or a cloth napkin or some such?

  • merr ,

    I am late to the holiday(!) but have to say this is such a good idea, and what lovely fillings are going inside that basket. Very, very nice.

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