It’s here again. Easter. Since February, pallet-loads of impulse-buy Hot cross buns have been placed near entrances of supermarkets; chocolate eggs and bunnies in awkwardly placed piles near the fridge section reminding you of the impending commercial frenzy. For months supermarkets wear you down until you finally cave and buy Easter goods for everyone you could possibly encounter over the break.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy to have two public holiday days and weekend stacked up in a row, but why are we honouring a jewish preacher with chocolate eggs? I know, I know, the symbolism of an egg and a bunny is deeply rooted in religion and folk lore, but how much chocolate do I need to buy to officially honour this commercialised holiday? How many plastic baby chicken figurines must i dish out before I can officially say ‘I did Easter’?
Luckily there are more sustainable ways to celebrate. Here are 3 things to consider when buying Easter treats.
1 / Packaging
Have you ever received an Easter gift where there was more packaging than actual chocolate? Copious amounts of non-recylable materials are used in Easter packaging every year, so it’s good to become acquainted with what’s recyclable and what’s not.
The foil wrap on eggs is recyclable! So save all those left over balls of foil and throw them in the recycling. Plastic = bad. This unnecessary packaging can take between 450 to 1000 years to break down. Try buying eggs that are packaged in uncoated paper or cardboard, this can we easily recycled and is biodegradable.
2 / Ingredients
There are a couple of things to consider here: the ingredients themselves, and how they are sourced. Milk production not only raises ethical questions but also has a huge impact of environment – why not try a dark chocolate or a vegan option? Palm oil production has huge impact on pollution and habitat – look for sustainable palm oil ingredients, or no palm oil at all. (Also FYI, ‘vegetable oil’ will probably contain palm oil). The cocoa farming industry has been exposed many times for use of child labour, slavery and unsustainable agricultural methods – choose chocolate where the cocoa has been sustainably and ethically sourced, like UTZ. It pays to read the fine print.
3 / Amount
Is it really important that you buy all of your friends and family Easter eggs? I don’t know about you, but I would be grateful to be ingesting less sugar, considering I eat everything that is put in front of me. Also, I don’t think little Johnny is going to hate you because you didn’t buy him an Easter egg. If he does, them maybe he’s got some other issues that need sorting out. Maybe consider one great gift for a couple or family.
Overall point being, don’t let the leaning tower of chocolate Easter bunnies at the supermarket rule your Easter. Be conscious of what you are buying and how much you really need.