Five Steps to an Eco-Friendly Easter Basket

by - Tuesday, April 04, 2017

holding an easter basket filled with plastic eggs

I love Easter. This amazing holiday has mostly evaded commercial co-optation, so I don't have to spend the whole month addressing how to buy better for it, but many of us do still get a visit from the Easter Bunny, and honestly, I think that rabbit can do better. These last few years, the Easter basket has grown from treats into another Christmas, filling huge vessels with toys, gifts, and all sorts of plastic-wrapped treats. It feels out of control, but we can get it back.

 I have a few ideas and suggestions of how to honor this day better by showing more respect to God's Earth and the people he has made by creating less waste, buying less, and supporting our own communities and people.

 This may seem a little early, but with some planning, you can avoid the last minute trip to Walmart and do your Easter basket shopping in more positive ways. Let's get to it!

1. Cut your Old Grass

Oh plastic Easter grass. When you think about it, you are basically the plastic bags of holidays. No one needs you. If we all only make one change to our approach to Easter this year, let's STOP buying this environmental blight disguised as pastel sweetness. Lucky for all of us, lots of recycled paper options exist.

I am trying to get a basis for plastic grass, so you can weigh your options, but this plastic grass was seven dollars for one bag. Some way better options:

Make your own. Do you have a shredder? Just recycle paper you already have to make grass? I am IN LOVE with this post on how to make your own from Compost and Cava.
from Amazon
Eco-Grass- Crinkle Cut, Recycled, Made in the USA- 3 1.25 oz bags- 12.99 (and prime if you procrastinate)

Hearthsong- Green Easter Grass, shredded paper- Less clear where it is made, and if you can get recycled paper, why get virgin paper (looking at you, paper towels), but it's affordable and way better than plastic- 15.75

from Amazon
Wrappily- Eco Shred Recycled Paper, Made in America (Wrappily is a great company, by the way)- 1 6 oz bag- 9.55

Not eco-friendly enough? You overachiever, you! You can actually get real Easter grass from companies like Vermont Hay Company. So guaranteed biodegradable! I honestly didn't even know it was a thing, so yay world, you are strange and wonderful.

secondhand easter baskets

 1 1/2. And while we are at it, skip the grocery store plastic baskets! 

If you don't already have something to reuse, check consignment stores for baskets. Even look for small wood or wicker ones in stores. You can always spray paint them (just don't do it the night before), so look for form not color. I bought our baskets from Goodwill for about a dollar each, and they are all beautiful. Buying things used creates less waste and keeps perfectly good items out of landfills.

If you want something fancier, think about a basket made of wicker or cloth that will last you many many years. Also, really think about the size. Stores keep pushing bigger and bigger baskets, but will your family know the difference? Buying less (and smaller) is one of the best ways to go green. Pom Pom Fringe (in Maine) makes gorgeous braided baskets. These seagrass belly baskets would also make a beautiful Easter basket.

No matter what, avoiding a plastic basket is a perfectly great baby step to being a good steward this holiday.

2. Plant your Seeds

 Rather than just putting candy in the basket (or worse yet, filling it with toys and junk), think about using Easter as an opportunity to grow something yourself. Put some seed packets into the basket and try an herb garden or some carrots for the Easter bunny! It might be a special new spin or tradition, and it can also teach a lot about how things grow.

Not wanting to overload your child with candy certainly makes plenty of sense, but overloading with toys is not a huge improvement. Shifts like this can help reframe the day.

colored easter eggs

3. Get Creatively Eggy

 I know in my family bought one of those egg kits every year, and it was always kind of fun to get the sparkly one or the one with stickers etc. But you know what we always ended up using most? Food coloring in our regular mugs. Sometimes drawing with crayons is good as well (those poor white ones are always underused anyway). Rather than buying one of those boxes, which usually come with the plastic cups or plastic spoons, use what you already have in your cupboard (my mother in law adds a teeny bit of vinegar that turns out to really give the eggs some vavoom) and a little creativity. If you need more dye, at least you know you can use food coloring later. I love this color guide to make any color you want from food coloring. Want more creative ideas? Check out this blog!

If you want to use even more natural ingredients, Pinterest has lots of great suggestions for natural dyes. These ones are vibrant, and these are really sophisticatedThis link also has natural dyes way down at the bottom. I love these ideas, and it gives me hope we can cut out one thing we 100% don't need!

You want to do an egg hunt? Me too, they are my favorite. Those plastic eggs are pretty cheap, so it feels like nothing to pick some up at the store, but they actually do come with a high cost. Most aren't recyclable, so that waste will live on past anyone participating in that egg hunt. You know that one that you never tracked down? It will be there forever. So what do you do? Two great options that beat buying new plastic eggs-

-JUST USE EGGS. Last year, we just colored eggs one day and hid them the next. I get the danger in leaving eggs out in the yard, but if you aren't hiding too many eggs, don't overcomplicate things.

-Use old ones! My Nana does an egg hunt every year, and the eggs the kids find now are some of the same eggs we used years ago. MANY years ago (when did we get old?). So use the ones you already have, and if you don't have any, think about reaching out and asking your Facebook friends or Buy Nothing group. Even check out your consignment stores! Especially if you aren't going to do it on the actual day. You can use them and have them back easily. You could even check consignment stores.

- Buy bioplastic eggs.   Eco eggs are made in the United States out of bio-plastic that is 100% compostable.  Awesome!  These eco-friendly eggs are too, though they seem to come in more regular plastic packaging.  I am curious what happens to that one egg no one can find, but otherwise, I think this is a genius idea that is still plenty affordable. All the reviews are glowing as well, describing them as sturdier than regular plastic eggs. If you can't find ones to use already, please buy these ones.

-Buy wood eggs. Alright, to be honest I think you would have to be really fancy to use wood eggs for a hunt, but these ones from RVANaturals might make a beautiful decoration or craft project for everyone to share?

kiddie pool easter basket with a hula hoop handle

4. Cut the Gifts (it's not Christmas, for Goodness Sake)

This picture is floating around facebook and haunting my dreams forever. Because nothing says easter like a kiddie pool and baseball bat. You all remember the classic Easter story where Jesus leaves the tomb and invites everyone over for a pool party? Yeah, me either. If this is your Easter dream, I am sorry but you have lost the plot. You aren't doing your kids any favors either.

This honestly was a pet peeve of mine for a long time, but in the face of the effects of our over-consumption (climate change, dirty water, the gross mistreatment of other human beings), turning the most holy of holidays into a big gift-giving to do really burns my toast. I think a little bit of candy is plenty. I don't think video games or dolls or anything in this atrocity make any sense within the context of the holiday, and it is wildly wasteful to turn it into a large gifting event when a really fun egg hunt does the trick.

Don't want to load your kid up with candy? I am right there with you. Put a few oranges in (you could decorate them), some seeds or seed bombs, and call it a day. Feel empowered to skip gifts, because it is a bizarre expectation, and our kids don't need every holiday to just be about receiving.

 Don't buy in to advertisers' suggestion that what your child wants is one of those giant, toy-filled, plastic-wrapped balls of nonsense. Be free, eat a little chocolate, and keep the day about the glorious return of Jesus Christ and not about yet another wishlist and purchase. It's just not that day, and I feel like it's a dirty anti-religious trick to make the day all about what you got. Booo. Try again, Earthlings! You cannot co-opt this beautiful day!

daffins chocolate easter chicken

5. Get your Candy Local (and Made in America)

Around Christmas, I posted a giant list of American-Made chocolates. USA Love List (a blog we LOVE here) has a list of American-made Easter candy as well. Take a second, and check that blog- peeps, Jelly Bellies, and other jelly beans are all made here. You have good options! With a little bit of research, a trip to a local candy store, and a stop at costco or a local grocer for peeps, and you have filled your baskets. No need to head off to Walmart or Kmart and buy plastic bags filled some candy made who knows where. You can do this.

 Need a little filler? What about baking a treat yourself?!? I bet you can even do All-American baskets without too much challenge or effort.

Another way to make your candy greener is to get more candy wrapped in foil and less wrapped in plastic. Local chocolates tend to come wrapped in foil or paper more, where as Hershey's does mostly plastic. Another easy switch!

So encouraged by this season and this holiday every year. Do you have any ideas on how to green Easter even more? Check out these posts from The Good Life with Amy French and A Green and Rosie Life for even more eco ideas for this Easter. And let me know what you do that works for your family!

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  1. Super cute Easter Basket! This has been one of the most original baskets I've seen, will definitely make mine, thanks for sharing!

  2. I love this post! I can't even believe you can buy fake plastic grass for Easter baskets??!!!?? What!!! I would think that some crepe paper would be a nicer option any day. I also totally agree with you that Easter is not about gift giving unless it is perhaps some chocolates, and then, definitely support your local sellers.

    1. Right! We always had plastic grass growing up and now I cannot believe it! Why does this even exist?

  3. Now all my kiddos are teens but I still give them as well as hubby and the dog easter baskets! This year I may use the pool idea and give my pup the pool when were done. Thanks for the idea!!

  4. These are amazing tips! I'm definitely sharing on my site. I especially love the grass idea- it baffles me that we buy the plastic stuff just to throw it out in twenty four hours :P

    1. Thanks Shelby! I am excited about the grass too- so nice that there are good options out there!

  5. Great Easter post! I am all for reducing waste. Using real grass to line a found basket it a much idea than buying fake grass. :)

  6. I recently did a post on limiting what we put in our littles Easter baskets. We (myself included) tend to over do it with holidays. I love your eco-spin on it. (And that kiddie pool picture killed me)

    1. It is so easy as a parent to feel like overdoing it is just being really loving or really committed to the holiday! I am like that myself sometimes, but I am always trying to stop myself now.

  7. I don't understand why plastic grass would be used over paper! Great tips thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, who knows. It's crazy, but people must do it because it is in stores.

  8. I LOVE all of these ideas... I have four cats, so plastic grass is automatically a no-go. And reusable baskets are the next logical step! These are wonderful ideas.

  9. Great tips! We live near where peeps are made so Easter is always a big deal around here and we love to visit the peeps store.

  10. Ideas like this, it is what we are always looking for. Well done!

  11. I love this. I remember that plastic grass... it used to get everywhere and was so hard to clean up. We’d be finding it months later.

  12. I am glad to read your post today as I am home with my girls and planning our Easter weekend. Very cute Easter Basket.

  13. Great suggestions. Easter Baskets are new to me but I enjoy putting a few books and educational items together for my kiddo (no plastic grass for sure). Thanks for sharing!

  14. We don't overdue it, just keep it simple and fun. Great way to keep it eco friendly.

  15. You are so right about the ugly plastic Easter grass! I can’t stand that grass. I haven’t seen the eco friendly grass, but now I’m going to keep a look out for it.

  16. This is such a great idea! I need to do this with my little guy!

  17. I love your suggestions. I remember when I was a kid, mom would never let me have my Easter basket until after Church, and she specifically told me that it was because "Easter isn't about the basket." That always stuck with me. I do the same with my kids.

    Our basket does always have a few small gifts...a chocolate bunny, some jelly beans or jolly ranchers for my son with the tart-tooth...but not a lot, and a few small toys but not much. As they've grown older I've kept the basket and candy but in stead of a toy put a Christian book or CD.

  18. PS: Years ago I bought green wigs after St. Patricks day to use as "easter grass" (you can't tell it's a wig until you pull it out)...plastic, yes, but reusable year after year. And the kids love it.



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