So as I was talking to my 14 year old daughter about this week’s blog topic I said, “I’m going to talk about all the unnecessary plastic waste that comes with Easter”, she simply says, “Holiday Killer”. My first reaction was a mature “na-uh”! She rolled her eyes and said something about me killing the holiday vibes. Hmmmm…
I guess I could look like a Holiday Killer, if you’re on the outside looking in; if you’re out there looking at all the fun, colorful, fluffy, happy “stuff” we use to celebrate a holiday tradition. This stuff is our way of showing our enthusiasm, our spirit, our pride of any given season or holiday. So, yeah, when you look at someone writing about all this extra waste we produce and the terrible effects it has on our environment I guess it does make me look like the Holiday Killer.
So how do I go forward with the choice that I’ve made to be vocal about our environment and waste and our society’s needless, painful plastic obsession? After all, I’m nowhere
near plastic free. Nowhere near living the wholly sustainable life. (In fact, a future blog of mine will be about my addiction with plastic zipping/locking bags.) But, I’m learning so much about what changes need to be made and I’m making them a little bit at a time. Much like some of the blogs I follow, such as My Plastic Free Life, I want to be an inspiration to others because I think there are others out there that want to make those changes too. Others that know they can make a difference just one, two, three small changes at a time but they’re just uncertain as to when, where & how to take those steps.
For instance, bringing this back to Easter, the last time I purchased new plastic eggs for my kids’ baskets was in 2009. I had recently been laid off & I saw these cheap plastic eggs as a way to bring a little joy to my kids in the midst of some tough financial times. That year my daughter was watching the movie “High School Musical” over & over so I got her some plastic containers shaped like lockers with HSM logos and I got my son Spiderman-themed plastic eggs. We filled them with cheap chocolate and filled their baskets with cheap plastic “grass”, cheap plastic toys and I never thought twice about where all that plastic & cheap chocolate* came from, what they used to manufacture it or where it went when we were done with it.
That was the same year that I started paying attention to plastic waste, though. That was the year that I vowed no more cheap plastic toys from fast food kids’ meals, I started taking my own grocery bags to the store and I started researching our environment and how I could make a change in my daily habits. I found that our city had an incredible Environmental & Sustainable department with a great recycling program – so I jumped into recycling more than just my plastic & cardboard & began teaching my kids and anyone who would listen about the benefits of recycling.
The following Easter, the kids received those same plastic eggs with cheap chocolate (I told you I was only taking a few steps at a time), but instead of plastic toys they received colorful chalk (admittedly I have not researched that item yet) and cute wooden toys made in the good ol’ USA. Since then, each Easter has been an experiment in finding something the kids could play with or be creative with that didn’t consist of plastic (though sometimes it’s nearly impossible to get away from plastic wrapping. Ugh…another time). And, each year since we have moved further and further away from the “Big Store Easter”.
Our chocolates & candies are from sustainable sourced manufacturers that do not use Palm Oil and/or are Fair-Trade Certified (Fair Trade USA). The kids STILL get their goodies in their HSM & Spiderman plastic eggs and we have the same baskets and same plastic grass that we had 7 years ago. Yep, I’m a Holiday Killer. Of course, the daughter that called me that will be getting up early next Sunday to find out exactly WHAT is in that basket. The older they get the better the non-plastic, sustainable goodies are and she knows that!
So, Holiday Killer or not, I will continue to spread the word and share what I learn about living a more sustainable, less plastic, environmentally safe, tree-hugging life.
As Kermit says, “It ain’t easy being green”, but for me, it’s well worth the choices I am learning to make every single day.
*To follow what is going on in our chocolate industry, follow: Say No To Palm Oil
Great ideas for what to use in place of plastic grass: 6 Green Alternatives To Plastic Easter Basket Grass Filler