WARNING – this post may contain some terrible puns and plays on words. It’s just the mood I’m in. Apologies in advance…
No sooner have the twinkling lights of Christmas time been returned to their dusty home in the loft, and the empties from New Years excess been dumped in the recycling, than the cogs of commercialism begin to turn in a totally new direction…
…and the shelves which previously held gaudy decorations and bottles of champagne are filled with a whole new host of consumer temptations…
…rows upon rows of Easter eggs (move over St. Valentine, and your piddly chocolate hearts and inedible flowers. The excesses of Easter chocolate consumption are on their way!).
In fact, a recent scientific study has shown that during a typical Easter period an average child will receive over thirteen Easter eggs and consume over 12,000 calories of chocolate and Easter goodies.
Now I don’t know about you, but back when I was a child, the Easter Bunny wasn’t nearly so generous. And not only that, but we didn’t just spend the Easter period stuffing our faces whilst playing ‘Happy Mrs Chicken’ (mainly because it hadn’t been invented, it is true. If it had, this might well be a different tale, as it does become somewhat addictive…). Instead, we participated in a ‘Good Friday workshop’, learning the story of Easter, making springtime mini gardens in plastic tubs, painting boiled eggs, and baking hot cross buns before parading to the local church and sharing the booty with the rest of the community – which must have burnt at least a few of the monstrous amounts of calories that a large chocolate egg would contain.
But I digress. At some point, over the last few years, Easter has become just another fixture in the calendar of ‘stuff your face’ and with childhood obesity soaring, that’s probably not a good thing.
An average British child under 12 will receive £24 worth of chocolate this Easter. Most children will receive one £3 egg from their parents and a further twelve from extended family and friends.
Now that’s a lot of chocolate, and a lot of expense! Going back to the ‘when I were a lass’ theme, the Easter Bunny in those days was more-than-a-little-bit more frugal. In fact, my sister, my brother and I, being somewhat interested in the ratio of money to chocolate used to make the five quid the Bunny was due to spend on chocolate stretch a wee bit further and ditched the egg-shaped-ness in favour of maximum-amount-of-chocolate-ness, opting for a 1kg bar of a well known chocolate brand. Which brings me to another point:
A survey by Friends of the Earth has revealed that in some cases for every £1 spent on Easter eggs, consumers could be spending the same amount or more again on packaging. It has been estimated that 4370 tonnes of cardboard and 160 tonnes of foil waste was created by the packaging used to protect Easter eggs. Many of the leading brands are actively planning to reduce packaging on Easter eggs, but the majority still contain several layers of unnecessary unrecyclable packaging which inevitably ends up in landfills.
So, rather than being all ‘Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where the birdies is’, Easter is now more of a ‘Spring has lethargically levered itself from the sofa, chopped up the grass to make way for trees to cut down and turn into egg packaging, and then used the birds as carrier pigeons to deliver the aforementioned eggs to the homes of children who are also quite a bit on the lethargic side (until the sugar high kicks in that is…but that’s a whole other problem…) before the foil, the plastic and the cardboard finally makes it’s way to the recycling – if we are being optimistic – or the local landfill.*
So, by now you’ve probably got the point. Easter is no longer a celebration of the rising of new life, a time for respecting our world and the wonders it contains. Instead, its a celebration of excesses – in a financial, chocolate consumption and packaging sense.
I’m not saying don’t celebrate Easter, but why not think about ditching the chocolate (well…most of it, anyway. I’m not completely mad!), and going for a more sustainable egg-themed treat instead? For example:
- Get the chicken AND the egg – for as little as £10 you can help a family procure eggs of the non-chocolate variety, all year round.
- Get an Eco Egg – also of the non-chocolate variety, but it will leave you satisfied in a ‘piles of clean laundry’ sense. It lasts a massive 720 washes, saving a fortune in laundry detergent and unnecessary packaging.
- Fillable cardboard eggs – IKEA have some great ones for around £2. Pack them with painting gear for Easter crafts, or even a mould to make your own Easter eggs…
Some eggs-celent ideas, I’m sure you’ll agree. So what are you waiting for? Ditch the chocolate, and get cracking on the sustainable Easter fun!
*may not be a totally accurate description of the process of producing and distributing Easter eggs. But I’m sure its something like that…
Words in this colour are nicked from elsewhere. But other than that, they’re mine. All mine!