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Six ways to keep Easter environmentally friendly

By Amanda Wheeler
Eco-columnist

Easter is hopping up this coming Sunday. If you are putting together Easter baskets or giving Easter gifts this year, here are some eco-hacks so you can have a more environmentally friendly Easter celebration:
1. Check your chocolate and candies: When you are purchasing candy for Easter — or at any other time, for that matter — make sure you do a quick check to make sure it’s not harmful to the environment. I always look for the Rainforest Alliance Certified label with the cute green frog. Then I know that the candy has met several standards for environmental friendliness, including protection of wildlife and ecosystem conservation. If you don’t see the frog on the package, you can always do a quick search on goodguide.com to see how the product ranks. They don’t have everything on that website, but they do have a lot of products.
2. Skip the plastic grass: I don’t know if it’s just me, but Easter grass seems wasteful and messy. Instead of filling the basket with plastic grass, opt for some shredded paper or tissue paper. Both are biodegradable. Or get fancy and use some reusable tissue paper made of fabric. Your basket will still look lovely but you won’t have the waste or mess of those plastic strands.
3. Invest in a sturdy basket: Lots of Easter baskets are made to be a one-and-done deal. Instead of picking up a flimsy Easter basket that will get thrown away after one use, invest in a nice sturdy Easter basket that can be used year after year. I am not usually an advocate of buying things that are plastic, but I’ve seen some really nice sturdy plastic baskets that could be used time and time again. A growing trend is to put Easter goodies in a container that is also a gift. For example, you could give a gift in a sand bucket or a watering can. Both of those items could get lots of use long after the Easter holiday is over.
4. Ditch the cheap plastic toys: There are lots of plastic knick-knack toys floating around during Easter (and many other holidays). Instead of buying a toy that will only be played with a handful of times before it breaks or is lost or thrown away, invest in something that will last longer and so will not end up in a landfill. One of my favorite Easter basket stuffers is books. Books make great gifts and last for a long time. Even after the kids are done reading them, they could be donated.
5. Hide real eggs: Easter baskets and egg hunts go hand-in-hand. Instead of flimsy plastic eggs that get broken and lost and end up in a landfill, you can hide hard-boiled eggs.
6. Use humane eggs: It’s also a good idea to make sure that your eggs are coming from a place that treats their chickens humanely. Buying your eggs from a local farmer who raises free-range chickens is one of the best ways to do this. You can also use natural ingredients to dye your Easter eggs, such as spinach, paprika, beets, and more.

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