How To Have a Low or Zero Waste and Ethical Easter

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We share how to mindfully choose and consume ethical chocolate eggs and other treats this Easter, as well as some ideas for zero waste Easter activities.

As with all things zero waste, it is best to be prepared to avoid the onslaught of waste holidays tend to bring. Leaving your Easter egg buying till the last minute and rushing to the nearest supermarket will most likely result in you having to get plastic wrapped, palm oil containing holiday treats for family and friends.

There are much better places to buy much better Easter eggs and other eats from instead!

We share where to get your eggs this Easter, what to look for, and what to avoid, as well as some zero waste Easter activities.

And, remember to recycle all the foil you collect from your own and other’s Easter eggs this Easter! Make sure you roll it up into a big ball about the size of a tennis ball or your palm so that it can be recycled. And, if you do end up with soft plastic packaging, RedCycle it.

If you want to skip all the preamble, you can go straight to our TOP PICKS list below for the most ethical and best packaged Easter eggs you can get this Easter…

ETHICAL AND UNPACKAGED EASTER EATS

Look for chocolate that is palm oil free and fair trade and that comes in minimal or no packaging. Limit the chocolate you buy from big corporations with questionable ethics and rather buy from local chocolatiers and bakers, reducing the carbon miles it has taken to get to you and you’ll be supporting small local businesses in the process.

Hunt for palm oil this Easter (so you can avoid it!)

Palm oil free chocolate has not contributed to the destruction of rainforests and biodiversity due to its unsustainable mass production. 80% of orangutans’ habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years and there is a serious risk that they will become extinct in our lifetime, so avoid chocolate that contains palm oil (as well as other products) if possible and choose products containing sustainable palm oil over ones that don’t state that it is sustainably produced (although this is controversial and some believe that it is not possible to produce it sustainability). 

Easter chocolate can be worse with palm oil because, according to Biome, due to the high amount of sales for the big chocolate companies at Easter, they use cocoa butter alternatives such as palm oil and shea butter in both the chocolate shells and fillings of Easter eggs to reduce costs. It can be hidden as unspecified vegetable oils or fats, emulsifier (E471 is palm unless stated it is soy), humectant/glycerol (422 is more often than not palm oil). These ingredients are more than likely palm oil so look out for them!

We’ve got a list of palm oil free chocolate below.

Buy fair trade

Fair trade certified chocolate means that social, economic, and environmental sustainability is considered in the farming and making of the product – the farmers get a fair wage, community development projects are invested in, and environmental impacts are minimised through sustainable irrigation practices, crop rotation, reducing carbon emissions, improving biodiversity, prohibiting GMO crops, the safe use of legal pesticides, and proper hazardous waste disposal.

Choose vegan 

Another option is to buy vegan chocolate if you don’t want to support the dairy industry and the carbon emissions it produces. Not all dark chocolate is vegan, so check the ingredients, but chocolate with a high percentage of cacao – between 55 and 85 percent – is more likely to be vegan. Ingredients in chocolate that may be derived from milk are: whey, casein, milk, milk fat, and milk solids.

Zero packaging Easter eggs

For packaging free Easter eggs, check out your local bulk store – some have special offerings over this holiday. For instance, Source Bulk Foods and Biome stores (sadly Brisbane only – lucky fish!) usually sell Easter eggs you can put in your own container over Easter. You could also simply put any bulk chocolates in a decorated jar or paper bag to make them more festive.

Or, you can make your own Easter eggs using ingredients you buy in bulk! We’ve included a few recipes we love in our list below.

Hot cross buns are easy to get zero waste at any bakery chain like Baker’s Delight or neighbourhood bakery by asking them to put them straight into a bread bag or produce bag. You’ll also find loads of recipes for hot cross buns online so you can make your own. If you’re after vegan ones, a lot are, for instance Baker’s Delights are vegan. Just ask!

Sustainable, vegan and locally made chocolate and hot cross buns from small bakeries are generally more expensive, but I think it is important that we vote with our dollars and not support big corporations with questionable ethics and you can combat this by buying less. A few amazing, more expensive treats are better than loads of cheap chocolates in my mind! Don’t over-consume, rather mindfully choose and consume this Easter.

 

Look out for these in stores or at markets, buy online beforehand, or buy the ingredients to make these this Easter:

Palm oil free chocolate bars:

Palm oil free Easter chocolate bunnies and eggs:

Buy from local, small businesses and bulk food stores – this is your best bet for packaging free because you’ll be able to take your own container:

  • Any local baker for hot cross buns and other Easter-themed treats like donuts

  • Keep an eye out for plastic free options at Easter markets

  • Chocolatiers where you can choose a selection from the cabinet (some big chains won’t let you byo container so maybe call beforehand)

  • Source Bulk Foods

  • Biome stores in Brisbane

  • Monsieur Truffle organic chocolate is made in Brunswick in Melbourne

  • Loving Earth, Pana Chocolate, Bahen & Co, and Treat Dreams are Australian made and Bennetto is made in New Zealand

Vegan Easter chocolate bunnies and eggs:

DIY Easter chocolate and treats:

  • Simply buy plain chocolate bars/chunks in bulk, melt it and pour it into moulds to set. Look for silicone moulds at second hand shops. I usually see these at every one I go to. I found bunny-shaped silicone ice trays last time – perfect for little chocolate bunnies!

  • Also look for Easter themed cookie cutters and make cookies using ingredients bought in bulk.

  • Make your own hot cross buns! There are loads of non-vegan recipes online and this is a great vegan one from A Virtual Vegan.

  • A Virtual Vegan also has recipes for homemade vegan crème eggs and vegan caramel eggs.

  • Make Easter cupcakes using ingredients bought in bulk and decorate with chocolates and sweets bought in bulk (you can use a produce bag for sweets at any help-yourself sweet store).

  • Turn bliss balls, which are easy to get plastic free ingredients for, into Easter bliss balls by covering them into melted chocolate.

Buy online (unfortunately these won’t be packaging free – but you can get ones that come in foil and/or cardboard or egg trays):

 


OUR TOP PICKS

  • Easter treats from local bakers in your own container

  • Packaging free chocolates and treats from Easter markets

  • Homemade Easter treats using bulk ingredients

  • Loving Earth Boobook Chocolate Eggs – organic, palm oil free, vegan, Australian made, buying supports the Great Forest National Park campaign and the packaging is home compostable, so nothing need be sent to recycling or landfill

  • Source Bulk Foods Organic Nutty Mylk Chocolate Eggs – organic, vegan, palm oil free, made in Australia, and completely wrapping free when bought in your own container

  • Treat Dreams Solid White Chocolate Mini Eggs – packaged in a cardboard pillow box, vegan, Australian made, and palm oil free


LOW WASTE EASTER ACTIVITIES 

Holidays should be about more than consuming! Consuming should not be the focus and should be an additional add on to spending time with loved ones if needed. 

Here are a few ways you can spend Easter with minimal consumption and waste and reuse glass jars and paper bags and other reusable resources you may have:

  • You can make your own Easter eggs and/or bake hot cross buns at home with the kids as an Easter activity.

  • You can still have a zero or low waste Easter egg hunt by placing chocolate eggs in reusable wooden Easter egg shells like these or putting them in or wrapping them in something else reusable or something you’re reusing like cutting up an egg tray to place each one in. Or get eggs that come in foil only to hide. You can recycle this foil as long as it is rolled up in a big ball about the size of a tennis ball or your palm.

  • Hunt for litter instead of eggs! Do a litterpick of a local beach or park and eat chocolate afterwards as a reward.

  • You can decorate old glass jars to fill with bulk chocolates to give to family and friends – turn them into rabbits or chicks (there are really cute tutorials online here, here and here) or cut up old fabric scraps to paint or draw on and cover the lids with using elastic bands saved up from your veggie purchases.

  • Save up those toilet rolls to make Easter toilet paper roll crafts – just search for Easter toilet paper roll crafts online and you’ll have more than enough DIY projects to choose from depending what you have lying around to use.

  • Go have fun and enjoy the entertainment at a community Easter market – remember to pack in some reusables for eats and drinks.

  • Reuse any paper bags you end up with to make Easter paper bags you can fill with bulk chocolates or bulk sweets from sweet stores that let you fill your own bag. If you’re looking for ideas, same deal as the toilet roll crafts – just search for Easter paper bag crafts online and see what fits with what you already have to use at home.

  • Reuse cardboard from any cardboard boxes that you come across to make bunny or chick masks.

  • If you and your family are not vegan, painting eggshells and egg shell art are fun Easter activities. You can use spices to make the paint or make biodegradable paint from cornstarch and food colouring so you can compost the eggshells afterwards.

  • Get outside and have a zero waste Easter picnic and games in a backyard or park or on the beach.

Companies to NOT SUPPORT

Nestle, Hershey, and Mondelez (Cadbury and Green & Blacks) are in Ethical Consumers worst list for palm oil and while Ethical Consumer gave Mars a good rating for palm oil, it still uses palm oil and along with Nestlé and Hershey, it has been accused of breaking pledges to stop using conflict palm oil from deforested Indonesian jungles and is unethical in other ways.

Reasons to avoid Nestle, which gets an F rating (the lowest you can get) on Shop Ethical, include:

  • plastic pollution

  • irresponsible use of palm oil

  • human rights violations

  • animal cruelty and animal testing

  • irresponsible marketing

  • nanoparticles in its products

  • control of water in North America

  • price fixing in Germany

  • 'D' rating at rankabrand.org

Reasons to avoid Mondelez, which includes Cadbury and Green & Blacks and also gets an F rating (the lowest you can get) on Shop Ethical, include:

  • plastic pollution

  • irresponsible use of palm oil (Zoos Victoria recently stopped selling Cadbury chocolate at its zoos as it refuses to disclose the origins of the palm oil it uses)

  • supply chain practices in China

  • human rights violations

  • tax avoidance

  • 'E' rating at rankabrand.org

Reasons to avoid Mars, which also scored an F rating (the lowest you can get) on Shop Ethical, include:

  • plastic pollution

  • irresponsible use of palm oil

  • poor environmental management and water pollution

  • poor supply chain transparency

  • poor animal welfare and animal testing

  • use of unsustainably fished fish

  • potentially harmful nanoparticles in M&M's

  • 'D' rating at rankabrand.org

For a full list of Shop Ethical’s ratings of chocolate brands go here.

 

Companies to RATHER SUPPORT

  • The ethical companies listed above

  • The local companies listed above

  • The Australian-made chocolates mentioned above

  • Bulk food stores

  • Small businesses

  • Market stall holders

 

We hope you found our ethical, low waste Easter guide helpful! How will you be celebrating this Easter ethically and mindfully? Any activities I should add?

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