This weekend we will consume almost 18 million Easter eggs in Ireland. For a population of 4.7 million, that is a staggering amount of chocolate – and of packaging.
And the packaging on Easter eggs is a pet hate of mine. According to leading recycling company Repak, under half of the packaging will be correctly recycled. Think about it – how much additional landfill waste will be generated!
I actually thought that this year due to the amount of publicity around the ocean plastic problem, that producers would have mended their ways.
It seems, however, that our insatiable appetite for large useless packaging (rather than the quality of the chocolate) still abounds. Over-sized boxes, foil wrapped eggs still line the supermarket shelves.
So as we head out to purchase those last minute eggs, how can we avoid filling our bins and the oceans with plastic this Easter? Here are some top tips….
- Pick eggs which have as little extra packaging as possible
- Pick eggs that are not foil wrapped if possible – it cannot be recycled
- Avoid eggs that have a plastic window in the box. If they do, you need to separate the window and box for recycling.
- Avoid eggs with soft plastic wrap – it can’t be recycled;
- Reuse the egg boxes for crafts – they make great houses for small toys!
More information can be found on mywaste.ie.
Easter is a great community occasion. One of the things I love in Ireland is the local Easter egg hunt tradition. We always have one in our local estate. This year, how about thinking about an eco-friendly idea instead of hiding eggs wrapped in foil? Any eggs that are left can be a danger to animals – as well as an eye sore.
One suggestion is to run a treasure hunt – with an Egg as a prize at the end. We did this last year and it worked a treat! Hide paper clues around the estate with riddles. Each riddle gives a letter – and when you collect them all you unscramble the word. You can then claim your prize! The kids and adults loved it and it created almost zero waste.
Using natural eggs is another option. These can be emptied or hard boiled, painted with food colour and rolled. When I was growing up we had a wonderful egg rolling tradition. We would paint the eggs then roll the eggs from the top of a hill. It marked the symbolism was the stone from Jesus’ tomb. It was great fun. I am not sure how many eggs got eaten, but at least they could be composted! There are more Eco ideas for Easter here.
Next Monday is also Earth Day. This is an international day that has been running for 49 years. It is a day when we celebrate our mother earth and try to make changes to protect her. Many celebrations are happening all over the world. You can find a list of what is going on here.
If you can’t get to a celebration, here is my suggestion on what to do to mark Earth Day in your own way! You could spend the day outdoors – go for a walk in the forest or by the beach to appreciate nature together. This time, however, bring re-used plastic bags with you and collect litter as you go (you may want to wear gloves too!) You will be amazed at how much random stuff you find. When you get home, before you dump it, if you can, spread it out and look at what was there. Really powerful way to teach kids about looking after the planet. If you enjoy it, you might check in with 12 year old Flossie and her beach cleaners – they regularly organise beach clean-ups around Dublin.
Join us on the 27 april for more practical family ideas on how to reduce your environmental impact and protect your childs climate future. Sign up here for an exciting free event for families!