This spring holiday is usually marked by meats and sweets, but there are some ways to make it easier on the environment.
Happy Easter! Spring is in the air, the end of Lent is close at hand, kids are eagerly anticipating chocolate, and many are preparing to host friends and family for a celebratory meal. Here are some ideas for keeping the long weekend as sustainable and green-minded as possible.
1. Buy fair-trade chocolate. It’s now possible to find great companies that make organic, vegan, and fair-trade treats that will satisfy your conscience while delighting any sweet-tooths in the family. Yes, it's more expensive, but here's why it matters.
2. Lay off the meat. Rather than putting a huge ham or lamb roast in the center of the table, consider a vegetarian, vegan, or even reduced-meat option. Oh She Glows has a vegan Easter dinner menu here, or check out Isa Chandra’s smoky glazed tofu ham.
3. Use the leftovers. Incorporate any leftover food into creative new dishes, i.e. sandwiches, stir-fries, soups, stock, or risotto. Send food home with relatives or pop it in the freezer.
4. Shop zero-waste. Take reusable bags and containers to your local retailers in order to stock up for the weekend. Small business owners are much more welcoming toward reusables than supermarkets.
5. Buy local. If you eat meat or eggs, source it from an ethical farmer nearby. Choose ‘ugly’ food, as recommended in Food Tank’s sustainable Passover article: “Twenty to 40 percent of all produce goes uneaten, mostly because it does not meet strict grocer cosmetic standards for size, shape, or color. A variety of grocery stores sells this ugly produce, including Whole Foods and Giant Eagle.”
6. Dyeing eggs? Make your own homemade dyes using food. Blow out the contents so you can use them for cooking. (You’re not supposed to eat eggs dyed with synthetic colors.) Or check out these vegan alternatives, such as wooden eggs, egg-shaped cookies, and ceramic eggs.
7. Offer food, don't serve it. I love this suggestion from Food Tank. Rather than loading up people’s plates with food, let them serve themselves. This will reduce uneaten, and therefore wasted, food.
8. Get away from plastic. Avoid plastic Easter grass, baskets, and other unnecessary decorations. If you must have a basket, choose one made from a natural material or make a fun papier-mâché one. Fill with shredded paper, yarn, or compostable raffia string.
9. Get outside. Now that the weather is warmer, it’s a perfect time to go for a hike. Gather your gang of family or friends and hit the trails.