5 Tips to a Greener Easter

Dyed eggs on the grass
Photo: Franklin Park Library [CC by 2.0]/Flickr

Easter is one of the great kid-friendly holidays. When I was a little boy, I looked forward to Easter with as much anticipation as Halloween and nearly as much as my birthday and the last day of school. Easter means baskets filled with candy, colored egg hunts, big meals with family, and the coming of spring. Now that I'm a parent, Easter is about buying candy, organizing egg hunts, and cooking big meals with the family. Regardless of your age, you should try to celebrate the holiday in the greenest way possible. Here are five tips for making your Easter holiday really green. Enjoy!

of 5

Skip plastic grass and eggs


Each year Americans buy a literal mountain of plastic grass to fill up Easter egg baskets. It's the spring equivalent of the evil silver Christmas tinsel that my parents couldn't get enough of when I was growing up. Plastic grass is designed to be used once, and most of it ends up in the landfill mere days after the holiday. It's the same story with hollow plastic eggs — most end up getting tossed after being used one or twice. If you want to green up your Easter this year, skip the plastic grass (buy paper grass or make your own) and go with real colored eggs. (Or go with organic free-range eggs if you want to go the whole nine green yards.)

of 5

Use natural dye for the eggs

Mike Miley/Flickr.

Traditional Easter egg dyes are made with petroleum and coal tar-based artificial colors. For as many food dyes that are approved by the FDA, there are two or three others that have been banned because they were shown to make people sick. Are we just waiting for more data until a current color is similarly banned? Why risk it if you don't have you? This Easter, you can pick one of the many natural options for dying your Easter eggs or make your own. A quick search on Google turns up a bunch of options for those who want to buy, and if you're more of the DIY kind of person, you can find two good recipes for homemade Easter egg dyes right here on MNN.

of 5

Buy organic sweets


For those with a sweet tooth, Easter is a joyous time — regardless of your age. It's one of the few times when it's sanctioned to eat as much candy as you can handle. Children wire themselves up on chocolate bunnies, Easter egg gum, pastel lollipops, and squishy yellow baby chicks. Waking up to find the Easter egg basket full of sweets is one of the great memories of childhood, nestled right in there with Christmas morning and visits from the Tooth Fairy. If you're in charge of filling up a basket this Easter, think about skipping the conventional candy aisle and picking up some greener, organic treats. If you're near a natural grocery story like Whole Foods, you can find a wide variety; if you don't live near a store selling organic treats, you can always turn to the Internet. YummEarth, Sugar Coated Organics and the Natural Candy Store are good sources for organic candy.

of 5

Appreciate nature


One of the best parts about Easter is that it's a reminder that spring is on the way. Try to spend some time out in the woods and fields this Easter. Pay a little homage to Easter's pagan roots and take a moment to breathe deeply and listen to nature. Really — just close your eyes and listen. That's what gets us up in the morning here at MNN — this beautiful natural world that we're charged with preserving. Studies have shown that people who spend time outside are healthier, both physically and mentally. Hug a tree, pat the grass, and smile up at the big ol' Easter sky overhead.

of 5

Make a communal meal


Easter is a perfect time to be thankful for all that we have and is meant to be spent with friends and family. Turn it into a green meal by paying attention to where and how your food is grown, choosing organic and local whenever you can. Invite your family, your friends and neighbors over and be thankful for the company and the food. If you'd like to go the extra step, get involved with Interfaith Power & Light, and organization that melds religion and spirituality with global warming.