5 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Enjoy a Waste-Free Easter (without being a killjoy)
Christmas seems like only a couple of weeks ago, and yet Easter is only just around the corner.
I’m already dreading the shops and the abundance of chocolate that hits our markets this time of year - and the wrapping/packaging that goes with it.
Doesn’t anyone else shudder at this whole aspect of Easter?
But, I have to remember that I was once a kid too, and I LOVED the Easter egg hunts, and obviously, the treats that followed (despite my unusual dislike for milk chocolate – I did LOVE the white chocolate).
Unfortunately, Easter wastage is a HUGE environmental problem.
I’m here to share with you how you can celebrate Easter this year (and keep it fun), without all the extra waste.
1. Choose your Easter Eggs Wisely (the less packaging the better)
Basically the less wrapping, plastic, boxes packaging etc – the better!
Let’s break that down even further.
Plastic can be recycled – yes, but not endlessly. Best to avoid it if you can.
Foil can also be recycled and it can be recycled over and over again. But, do we need the millions of tonnes of it in our recycling system each year during Easter? Is this a GOOD use of our recycling facilities and the resources that go with it?
Cardboard, like the foil, can also be recycled endlessly. But the amount that is used over for packaging is extremely wasteful and unnecessary.
‘An estimated 67 million tonnes of waste is generated in Australia annually. About 4 % of this waste comes from the nation’s chocolate consumption over the Easter break.’ – www.sbs.com.au
This year, when you head to the shops to tackle your Easter shopping, try to make a conscious decision about WHAT you are purchasing, and try your best to buy eggs with minimal packaging.
By making some simple switches from what you would normally buy, you’re already doing 100% better than last year.
2. Recycle Easter Egg Packaging - Properly
So you’ve consciously chosen your eggs, and have tried to avoid as much waste as possible, but inevitably, there will still be some waste.
Let’s look at what you CAN recycle from your Easter Eggs and how to do it effectively.
#1 Foil. The foil wrappers on your eggs can be recycled. Collect all the small bits 'n' pieces in a box or jar (or whatever works for you). The foil needs to be scrunched up into a fist-sized ball before it can go in the recycle bin. If the foil has chocolate on it – it will need to be rinsed. If it’s too dirty – it will have to go in your waste bin.
Foil can also go into an aluminium drink can in small pieces.
#2 Cardboard boxes. These can go in your recycle bin folded down (or even in your garden/compost but it’s best to shred them first).
#3 Plastic packaging. If it’s firm, it can go in your recycle bin. If it’s soft plastic (i.e. a bag filled with all the little easter eggs) then it can go in Redcycle.
The ultimate goal is to try to create as little waste as possible, but if this is difficult for your household, then your next best bet is to recycle as much as you can (properly)! You’ll be surprised by how much less waste will go into your landfill bin by taking this step.
3. Opt for chocolate-free gifts
Our little ones are 6 and 4, and they’ve been counting down to Easter since…well…Easter last year, so opting for no chocolate would probably ruin them forever. However, there is always the option of buying less Easter eggs. Not only is this better for the planet, it’s obviously WAY better health-wise as well.
And for the older children, there’s always the option of gift vouchers, subscriptions, DIY gifts, sports gifts and other planet-friendly gift ideas.
For adults – well, you have to consider the meaning behind Easter? Is it about the giving of the eggs and chocolate, or is it about spending some quality time with your loved ones? I'm going to say that in most cases it's the 2nd option.
There's no rule or norm around what is right or wrong when it comes to giving Easter gifts. Do what feels right for you.
You don’t HAVE to fill your children’s buckets up with eggs. You don’t have to ‘outdo’ other parents’ Easter events. You obviously don’t have to give Easter eggs if you don’t want to. Your children will survive either way, and in the long run will be much healthier for it.
Like all celebrations, the most important part is spending time with family, loved ones and friends, and really appreciating this time together.
4. Two waste-free Easter recipe ideas to inspire
If you have a special Easter event planned this year, we have sourced some extra special recipes to inspire (from a couple of my wonderful friends). These yummy recipes will not only have your family and loved ones wanting more but will also use up some leftover foods from your pantry.
First up - Hot cross bun bread and butter pudding
Vanya is a Kiwi food blogger and can be found on Instagram and Facebook. She has kindly shared this recipe with me to help you create a fun and waste-free Easter. You can find the original recipe here
This recipe calls for stale hot cross buns (if you do happen to have leftovers.). It also works well with fresh hot cross buns.
Serves 6, prep time 10 mins, cook time 35 mins, inactive time 10 mins, total time 55 mins
6 hot cross buns
30grms butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp icing sugar
*** Note: You can try veganising it with vegan alternatives - and if you do - I'd love to know how you go!
1. Preheat oven to 180°C fan bake. Grease a large bowl with butter.
2. Slice hot cross buns 1 cm thick and spread each piece with butter. Arrange slices side by side in the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, milk, cream, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla then pour over the hot cross buns.
4. Leave to soak for 10 minutes before putting it into the oven.
5. Bake for 35 mins until golden and cooked through.
6. Dust with icing sugar and serve with ice cream or custard.
Next up - Birds nest Cookies
The lovely Beth facilitates kid's cooking classes and can be found here on Instagram.
This favourite recipe of hers calls for those bits and pieces you have leftover in your cupboard.
Although the recipe mentions fried noodles you can also use rice bubbles (who doesn’t have a box of rice bubbles sitting in the back of their cupboard?), desiccated coconut or even pretzels.
Beth is running an Easter Cooking Class to teach your children how to cook this exact recipe. You can join here.
5. Tackling your Easter food leftovers
With any celebration (not just Easter), comes an abundant amount of food! And no doubt you will have leftovers.
This year, instead of throwing away all your leftover party foods, I've taken the following tips from my lovely friend Alena Turley who runs a membership for Mums to help them reconnect with who they truly are. You can find her on Instagram here.
In Alena's blog article on '5 Simple Ideas for an Eco Responsible Easter' she talks about what to do with the excess chocolate eggs (yours OR the kids). She suggests checking Olio - an app which connects you with neighbours who you can share your leftovers with.
Same with any leftover food from Easter celebrations. You can save it in your fridge or freezer, or (again) you can search on Olio to share it with neighbours.
For any leftovers that you can't save, they can go in your home compost or green organics bin (if you have one available to you), or if you don't - you can check the Sharewaste app. This app connects you with neighbours who are happy to compost for you!
The real meaning behind your Easter
This year, as the world struggles with an alarming number of environmental issues, why not spend a few minutes considering what Easter really means for you and your family. Perhaps it’s a welcoming time to spend 4 quality days together without having to rush around. And perhaps take the opportunity to teach your children how to celebrate Easter without so much rubbish and waste. It is possible...
You don’t have to be a downer and not buy any eggs – but perhaps there are one or two ways you can make this Easter a little more sustainable than the last.
And we'd love to know how you go. Share your success with us on Instagram using #letsdiminishourwaste.
If you’d like to learn how you can tackle more than just the Easter waste – why not join our ‘Diminish your Waste’ membership.