Easter, a well-known Christian holiday, will be celebrated on April 17 this year. Annual celebrations include plastic eggs filled with individually wrapped candy, plastic grass stuffed in baskets and short-lived desires to buy bunnies and chicks.
Although fun and festive, holiday celebrations and decorations often have negative consequences on the environment. Easter is no different.
Easter egg hunts are a central part of celebrating this holiday, but what will happen to those plastic eggs and used candy wrappers on April 18? They will end up in landfills or waterways, contributing to the already tremendous amount of plastic waste.
A report by English sustainability organization WRAP revealed that 3,000 tons of chocolate egg packaging is accumulated every year in the United Kingdom alone. This is equal to over six million pounds.
However, there are ways to enjoy the holiday and all the festivities without negatively impacting the environment.
Instead of buying a dying kit from the store, use old food scraps such as red onions to make a natural dye. Rather than throwing them out, make sure to eat the dyed hard-boiled eggs.
Reuse old plastic eggs or, even better, try avoiding plastic entirely with reusable options such as wooden or paper eggs.
Avoid the unnecessary waste of individually-wrapped candy and make the hunt more exciting with small wooden toys that will last much longer than a pack of Skittles.
Other ways to avoid using plastic during this holiday are by buying or making reusable Easter baskets and by having children use reusable bags during the hunt.
Plastic waste is not the only sustainability concern related to Easter celebrations. This holiday is also a popular time for irresponsible pet purchases.
According to National Geographic, the rate of bunny abandonments drastically spike during the weeks following the Easter holiday. After cats and dogs, rabbits are the third most popular and third most abandoned pet. Many people don’t do the research prior to purchasing and are later surprised that bunnies require extensive care and are a ten to twelve-year commitment. After this realization, bunnies often find their way back to the shelter or are thrown out on the streets.
Easter is the perfect time to catch up with your family and participate in festive celebrations, but your fun doesn’t have to come at the expense of sustainability. Before celebrating the holiday this year, consider these more environmentally friendly options for common Easter activities and decorations.
Follow Jenna Murray on Twitter, @Jenna_Murray5
Subscribe to The Standard's free weekly newsletter here.