Holidays. They can be fun and overwhelming. Family gatherings, lots of items on our to-do list, excitement, and tradition. Love them or not, holidays can throw a wrench while you’re on your journey towards zero waste because they’re not part of our normal routine. Add in specific traditions and that can be hard to change.
The good news is you don’t have to change things all at once! When approaching holidays with a new mindset, whether it be zero waste, minimalism, etc, start slow. Trying to make too many changes at once can only lead to added stress and overwhelm, which makes it really easy to throw in the towel.
Lucky for you, I have a ton of ideas on how to approach your upcoming Easter gatherings (whether you’re hosting or attending) and easy zero waste swaps for Easter eggs and Easter baskets. Pick a few from this post to implement this year. The best thing about these tips (the gathering and gift giving ideas), is that they are applicable to any type of occasion!
First, here is what Mr. Blographer and I are doing for Little E this Easter.
Little E is 2.5 years old, so luckily, he doesn’t remember what we did last year. Therefore, we are reusing his Easter basket from last year:
We also will be reusing generic colored Easter eggs from last year. We plan to keep using these for many years to come. If needed, we plan on explaining that the Easter bunny is very environmentally and socially conscious, and we’ve asked him/her to reuse the supplies for us!
For the gifts in his basket, we try hard for any gift-giving occasion to follow the guidelines of ‘something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something to read’. Little E doesn’t actually need anything to wear at the moment, so we swapped it out with another ‘want’.
The book, coloring book, chalk, wooden toy truck, and bubbles will go in his Easter basket.
The cheddar bunnies and fruit snacks will go into the Easter eggs instead of individually wrapped candy. Although the fruit snacks are individually wrapped as a package, Little E LOVES them and we don’t buy them all that often, so they are a fun treat. We are still working towards finding a zero waste swap for the beloved fruit snacks.
Zero Waste Swap: Easter Eggs
- Buy plastic eggs second hand
- Reuse from previous years
- If you have kids that are older/don’t mind – use small reusable containers versus eggs
- Hide other small toys instead of eggs
Easter Egg Contents
- Look for candy/crackers that aren’t individually wrapped
- Craft supplies
- Roll up experiences on pieces of paper for kids to unroll
Zero Waste Swap: Easter Baskets
- Choose a reusable container versus a basket
- Buy an easter basket second hand
- Reuse a basket from a previous year
- Don’t have one an actual basket!
- Instead of Easter grass, use shredded paper, tissue paper, or nothing at all
Easter Basket Gifts
- Gift outdoor toys instead
- Gift Experiences
- Follow the ‘Something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something you read’ guideline
- Gift consumables
- Gift magazine subscriptions
For even more Easter basket, hostess gifts, or other types of gift, check out this gift guide:
If you want some ideas for zero waste gift wrap, check out this post here: Zero waste gift wrap
Zero Waste Egg Dying
- Use reusable cups for to hold the dyes instead of disposable
- Use old cloth towels (or shirts) as rags for cleanup instead of paper towels
- There are so many options for egg dyes (food dye, egg coloring kits, natural dyes) so find one that will work for your family depending on where you are on your journey.
- Egg cartons and egg shells are compostable. If you don’t have access to a compost, the egg cartons are recyclable and you can use the egg shells for a number of things!
10 Tips for a Zero Waste Easter Gathering (attending or hosting)
As I said at the beginning of the post, start small! Don’t try to go completely zero waste. You may end up feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. Instead, try and implement a couple of things, see how they go and reevaluate after the holiday.
**This post is derived from my zero waste Thanksgiving post, so some of you may find the contents familiar. I did update it and add in a few things to make it applicable for Easter. Remember how I said the tips can be used for pretty much any type of gathering?!
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- If you are hosting and planning on distributing leftovers, check to see if you have plastic takeout containers that you don’t need. Or, you can buy reusable containers from a thrift store, or if comfortable, ask people to bring their own containers! Additionally, you could see if people have any extra they are willing to ‘donate’ to you for leftovers. People often have so many sitting around, they would be happy to make some room! For your own leftovers, pyrex glass containers and mason jars are great for storing leftovers (mason jars can go in the freezer).
- If you aren’t hosting and you’re comfortable talking to the host/hostess, offer to bring your own. You could also offer to donate some containers for the host/hostess to distribute the leftovers in so they don’t have to use their own.
Have a plan for food
- If you are hosting – speaking of leftovers, try and have a general idea of what you want to do with the leftover food, whether that is eating within a week, freezing, or giving away. This way you can plan ahead for containers, making room in the freezer, planning which recipes to use leftovers, etc.
- If you are not hosting – if you end up with some leftovers to take home (lucky you!) make a plan to do something with the food right away. Maybe that is put it in your ‘eat me now’ section of your fridge, freeze it, or think of a recipe to reuse the food.
Make it a theme
- If you are hosting, suggest to the guests that you want to have a zero-waste Easter, and ask them to follow suit by paying attention to packaging at the store, bringing their own leftover containers, etc. Or, you could show them this post – hint-hint for tips.
- If you aren’t hosting and know the host well enough to make a suggestion, suggest doing a zero-waste themed Easter! Offer to help out wherever you can!
- If you are hosting, opt to use cloth napkins. You will be able to use them over and over again.
- If you are not hosting, cloth napkins would make a GREAT host/hostess gift!
- If you are hosting, have a dishwashing party and get as many people as possible to help out with dishes and more! This way you can feel comfortable using non-disposable dishes knowing they’ll get clean in a flash! For tasks such as wiping down tables, counters, and stoves, opt to use cloth towels you already have, or try bamboo towels in place of paper towels. You will be able to reuse them many times. We LOVE these. Be sure to tell guests where your recycling and compost waste is (if you have one) so they know where to properly dispose of waste.
- If you are a guest, initiate a dishwashing party right away to let the host relax. Use cloth towels to clean as much as possible (and for drying). Ask the host where their recycling and compost waste go (if they have either), and make sure the proper waste ends up in the right bins.
Buy in bulk
I will preface by saying approach with caution. Zero waste shopping can easily get overwhelming. But as you are shopping, whether you are hosting or just bringing a dish, take a look around and see if there are certain products that you can buy in bulk. Make sure you have a plan in mind as to what you are going to do with the food since there will be a lot of it. I find that meal planning really helps with this!
Pay attention to packaging when shopping
I have found that the easiest way to reduce packaging is using reusable produce bags (I like using these). Other tips include trying to avoid single serve items or most convenience foods as they produce a lot of waste! I will talk more about this in an upcoming post, however, for right now, just start making note of the packaging as you are shopping.
Cooking the turkey/ham
If you are hosting and don’t have a turkey/ham pan, instead of buying a disposable one, ask friends and family if they have one you could borrow! Save money and waste. Additionally, you could try to find one at a thrift store. Or, try an alternative method of cooking your turkey/ham (I hear deep frying a turkey is good – kidding – kind of).
Bringing a dish
If you are not hosting but are bringing a dish, opt for a reusable one to take home, or buy a cute one at a thrift store that you can gift to the hostess afterward.
Decorations are one of those things that are easy to reuse year after year or buy from a thrift store or second-hand store. Another option would be to ask around and borrow some from friends/family. Or, you could bring some ‘hygge’ into your home and decorate with some natural elements from outside. Maybe a grapevine wreath, spring flowers, berries, etc?
Whether you implement one of these tips or all of them (or maybe you already do them), I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter!
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