Eco-friendly ideas to help make Easter more sustainable
Mmm mmm! Easter eggs are one of life’s greatest pleasures, but have you thought about the impact of chocolate and our traditions on our environment?
At FOUND By Flynn we are focused on selecting sustainable and ethical products, so this is a topic close to our heart. We have collated some ideas on how to make Easter more sustainable. They may seem insignificant, but if we all play our part, the world will be a better place.
We all know the positive side of chocolate (yum!), but there are some negatives which include:
- Rainforests are shrinking from the palm oil being farmed
- Dairy cows that produce the milk also negatively affect the environment
- Around 1000 litres of water is needed to produce just one chocolate bar
- Pollutants - agricultural chemicals are often used in farming
- Some farms employ child labour and exploit workers
- Cocoa has to travel a long way, and often between various companies, before it can be made into chocolate, causing greenhouse gas emissions
- Plastic packaging isn’t biodegradable, producing thousands of tonnes in packaging waste each year from Easter eggs.
There’s no need to give up chocolate completely at Easter, but if we manage consumption and make smart purchasing decisions, we can reduce our carbon footprint.
How to enjoy an eco-friendly Easter
Buy organic, dark chocolate and boycott palm oil
Organic chocolate is produced without chemicals and dark chocolate has less milk, so it is better for the planet.
In addition, it is important to avoid palm oil. Approximately 50% of products on supermarket shelves contain palm oil and many of those are chocolate-based. According to the United Nations, nearly all of Indonesia's rainforest (98%!) will be destroyed in 9 years to make way for palm oil plantations due to our demand for these products. Destroying rainforest habitat, threatens various species such as the orangutan and reduces the world's supply of oxygen.
What can we do to help? Make smart purchasing decisions and boycott palm oil products. One way to do this is to scan the barcodes of products with an app. The orangutan.org website recommend the Australian Palm Oil Investigations (POI) app.
According to the website 1millionwomen the following chocolate is palm oil free:
- Haigh's Chocolate blocks
- Pana Chocolate
- Lindt & Sprungli – Lindt Excellence and Lindt Creation chocolate blocks (NB: filled products such as Lindor do contain palm oil)
- Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate blocks – Dairy Milk, Old Gold, Dream
- Aldi Stores: Choceur, Just Organics, Moser-Roth
There may be more, so read the labels or scan the barcode to check. We also recommend looking for the Fair Trade logo on chocolate. Fairtrade helps make cocoa farming more sustainable by guaranteeing minimum prices, so farmers can provide a better future for themselves and their families. For a list of Fair Trade chocolate visit the Fair Trade website.
Buy chocolate bilbies or quokkas, not bunnies
While bunnies are harmless in chocolate, rabbits in the wild are a huge contributor to species loss in Australia.
Why not contribute to conservation at the same time as eating chocolate? Buy a bilby, not a bunny! Unfortunately Woolworths and Coles are not stocking bilbies this year, which is disappointing, but there are plenty of other options.
There are various billbies being produced, but not all donate money to charity. So please check that they are donating to the environment.
Haigh’s chocolate bilbies supports the Arid Recovery Project.
Chokka the Quokka, made by the Margaret River Chocolate Company, will help the Rottnest Foundation.
An alternative to chocolate bunnies are these adorable soft toy bunnies and bilbies by Australian designer, Edge of the Forest. Everything by Edge of the Forest is handmade in the Bega Valley, Australia. Their toys are super soft and cuddly. They also make ideal companions for children with sensory issues, the different textures have been proven to calm and nurture even the littlest of minds.
Incorporate eco-friendly containers and nature activities in egg hunts
Easter Egg hunts are great fun, but sometimes the competition becomes a bit intense, so why not introduce an educational or healthy element. Create a scavenger hunt with questions about where chocolate comes from and hide the answers. Or hide activity-filled eggs with actions to complete before they 'win’ their eggs to build in some exercise eg, complete 5 bunny hops, 4 baby chick wing flaps, or 3 bilby scurries.
Say no to plastic #leaveitontheshelf
You may have seen #leaveitontheshelf on social media in relation to fruit and veg, but it also applies to Easter eggs. Instead of buying eggs in plastic, choose chocolate in cardboard and foil and remember to recycle, even the foil.
Or even better, buy an Easter mould and make your own eggs or chocolates and put them into treat boxes such as these Easter bunny boxes made from eco-friendly biodegradable paperboard.
It's not just about chocolate products. If you’re buying Hot Cross Buns, instead of buying them at the supermarket in plastic, shop at your local bakery and take along a reusable bread bag.
Your main meal at Easter is also important to plan. If you can, try to buy sustainable seafood. The Good Fish website is a great place to start and they also have a handy app.
Make an Easter Cake
Instead of Easter Eggs, have you thought about baking an Easter Cake? It’s also traditional - more traditional than eggs. According to legend, in Italy they have been making Colomba, a dove-shaped cake at Easter since 572AD. In Ireland, they've had the tradition of the Simnel Cake since medieval times. It's a rich fruit cake with a centre and top layer of marizpan.
Although Easter in Australian is in Autumn, it is held during the full moon of the Spring Equinox in Europe, marking the start of spring and it celebrates the Christian tradition of rebirth. So your cake should ideally be bright, colourful, signify spring and new life. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could make bunny cupcakes, a cake in the shape of a baby chick hatching, an egg, a cross, the letter E, or an Easter bonnet!
Easter is also about surprises, so you could incorporate a surprise in your cake. We love this Bunny Surprise Cake with a hidden bunny rabbit shape inside.
Although not a cake, these lemon curd Easter egg cookies are very clever incorporating an egg design…and wait for it…no chocolate! Yes, no chocolate at Easter can be done.
Explore Easter traditions from other countries
In Germany and other European countries, they decorate real eggs and place them on graceful Easter Egg Trees. The branches are usually bare branches without leaves because they are coming out of winter in Europe. The colourful eggs signify spring and blossoms. The custom is found mostly in Germany and Austria, but also in other German-influenced places such as Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moravia, and the Pennsylvania Dutch region of the United States. In Germany it is called Ostereierbaum.
See a video here showing how to empty the eggs first before painting them: and see 30 great Easter egg decorating ideas here. NB: Some of these may not be sustainable or eco-friendly. For example, we recommend against using glitter because it can get into our waterways and affect our fish and ecosystem.
Another European tradition is the Easter Cake Dance in Ireland. After lunch, the prized cake would be elevated on a place of honour and then the music would start. Everyone danced and whoever lasted the longest, or was voted the best dancer by the crowd, won the cake. The cake was brought down and shared among everyone. The common term 'Now that takes the cake!' comes from this tradition.
Image credit - Bruno/Germany on Pixabay
Start your own family tradition
I know one family who initiated their own tradition at Easter - gifting a new board game each year. The surprise of 'which board game will it be this year?' is something everyone looks forward to and it means Easter isn’t just about chocolate eggs. It’s also an activity the whole family can enjoy after Easter dinner. Any board game will do, but here is an Easter-themed 'Would you rather' game or better still, here's an Australian animal memory game from FOUND By Flynn.
Or if you don’t have the budget for a board game, an entertaining game you can print out online is this one called Funny Bunny Faces. You just need a dice, some pencils and paper. Or make this Easter Bunny Beanbag Toss game from an old cardboard box.
FOUND By Flynn's top, non-chocolate gift picks for Easter
25% off everything at FOUND By Flynn all Easter weekend!
Bunny Silcone Teething Discs - Dual texture reverse for maximum stimulation, massaging and soothing. The perfect size for little hands to hold and little mouth to chew. Made with high quality, 100% food grade silicone that is free from BPA, lead, cadmium, phthalates, PVC and latex.
Bunny Teether - Soft silicone surrounding a beech wood ring. Pop them in the fridge to chill and soothe sore gums.
Wooden Stacking Rabbit Puzzle - an educational toy, in keeping with the Easter and rabbit theme
Soft toy bunnies & bilbies - Handmade in Australia. Soft toy rabbits and bilbies. Soft and adorable.
Truly Amor Kids Journal - Stuck for things to do over Easter or feeling a bit down during the crisis? This journal for kids includes over 70 guided daily spreads that give children a mix of thought provoking, self-reflecting questions and fun, light hearted questions. Its packed with games, positive quotes and affirmations and over 10 challenges that will keep them busy for months! They will achieve goals that will help them feel empowered and confident.
The Rest PJ Set - not quite chickens, but ducks! Perfect for relaxing at home over Easter
The Kids Book of Seasons - a book to help introduce the difference between Autumn, Summer, Winter, Spring
Silicone Bowl Set - Duck egg blue - OK so we're stretching the Easter theme now, but it is duck egg blue!
Fegg cups for Grown Ups - Well it sounds like 'egg'. Fegg stands for foldable, ethical, go anywhere glasses. An unbreakable wine glass for adults. Treat yourself or a friend this Easter.
Gift Voucher - Not sure what to buy, want to avoid chocolate, need a last minute gift, or playing safe and gifting remotely? Why not buy a FOUND By Flynn e-gift card in $10, $25, $50, $100 options. The voucher will be emailed to your nominated email address.
Do you have other Easter ideas that don’t involve chocolate?
Happy Easter and stay safe!
From FOUND By Flynn
PS - We leave you with this cuuuuute baby orangutan shot. How could you ignore this face?
Who, or what is FOUND by Flynn?
FOUND by Flynn is an online service that aims to bring to the world a selection of unique, high-quality, kids products by Australian designers. Founded by early childhood education professionals and mums, Nicole Campbell and Cindi Pereira.
We source and only select kidswear, toys and accessories by Australian small businesses who exhibit the following essential values: