Day 288: Easter Consumption


photos credit: Darrell Fraser

Ah Easter.  If there ever was a Western holiday more dominated by plastic encased chocolate, I have yet to hear of it.

My childhood memories of Easter are of pastel colored plastic eggs, fuzzy paraphernalia (inevitably in the shape of bunnies and chicks), chocolate, and also, strangely, underwear (my parents had a practical side and took the opportunity every spring to rejuvenate our collection of skivvies, slipping them into our baskets beside the requisite candy), but that’s another story.

Each year, the trophies my siblings and I prized the most were those huge, hollow chocolate eggs thaegg-chocolatet contain a little bag of something – smarties, jellies, peanut butter cups – enticingly displayed in a hard plastic shell and cardboard cover. The design of these hasn’t changed much in the past 20 years, but it’s only this year that I realized that the chocolate to packaging ratio on those things is probably close to 1 to 1.

I’m actually worried that this project has ruined some occasions for me; will I ever be able to look at one of those large and tasty eggs again with unrestrained happiness? Or will my packaging conscience forever overwhelm?

Grant and I spent this weekend with his family on Vancouver Island, stuffing our faces with chocolate eggs and running around the house on a sugar high (oh wait, those were the nieces).  So, you know it’s coming: the packaging discussion. We really did manage to escape virtually unscathed (except for a few foil wrappers and one Easter themed plastic bag that somehow slipped into our pack).

Being over the age of 15, we luckily avoided the traditional (and usually wildly overpackaged) easter egg hunt.  We flexed the “no individually wrapped items” rule and accepted (and gave) foil wrapped chocolate eggs because, according to my sources, we can recycle the wrappers.

Of course, there was also a plethora of jelly beans and free ranging, candy coated eggs to keep us happy.

There was one awkward moment when we had to decline a well intentioned gift of marshmallow eggs, nestled in a plastic tray, covered with a plastic wrapper.  But no feelings were hurt.

Our families are well aware of our project, and we definitely don’t expect them to change to be like us (although we would cheer loudly if they did).

Since starting the project we’ve really been trying to balance sticking to our rules with a) being polite and b) not preaching to everyone else about our point of view (which is sometimes harder than anticipated).

It’s almost like being vegetarian.  If a vegetarian came to your house, you wouldn’t force them to eat meat would you?  You would just serve them the non-meat portions of the meal, and occasionally, maybe even cook up a veggie style dinner everyone can enjoy.  In return, you expect your veggie guests not to berate you because of your meaty food choices.

It’s the same with us and packaging: my parents just remember that with my brother stuff has to be vegan and with Jen it has to be waste-free.

My final thought of the day is that, since every other lifestyle choice seems to have a title, I think there aught to be a word for people who try to avoid landfill garbage.  Packagatarians?  Waste-a-phobes? Cleanbinners? Crazy?

What do you think?



Filed under gifts, recycling

6 responses to “Day 288: Easter Consumption

  1. You project really cought my attention after seeing it in the MEC catalogue. I was already conscious of the things we by, but my outlook is now a little more critical of how the industry packages and sells items.

    Congrats on spreading the word!

  2. Carol

    I found myself thinking the same thing as I was searching for Easter treats for my three young kids, why does there have to be so much packaging on everything! I did buy the plastic eggs to fill with some little chocolate treats and use for the egg hunt but I am planning to keep them and use them year after year. I steered clear of the big baskets filled with treats and plastic toys and covered in celophane wrapping. They have the wow factor for kids when they first see them and think they have scored, but once you peel away all of the wrapping and plastic straw stuffing you realize there is very little left of any value, just a few candies and cheap plastic toys that break within a day. I have the same complaint of toy-packagers, ridiculous amounts of unnecessary packaging, what is a parent to do!

  3. I thought of you last night, and the foil egg wrappers. I was cleaning my bike’s rims with tin foil, and I realized I could have used foil egg wrappers instead (if, of course, I ate chocolate easter eggs and saved the wrappings, which I didn’t). How does your bike maintenance work with your earth-friendly ideals?

    • Cleaning with tin foil? I never knew you could use it for bike rims! What a good idea!. Sadly, it seams that consumerism and a little waste is unavoidable with bike maintenance. I already had to buy a new brake cable and brakes this year; although, I did choose the brake pads that came on a piece of cardboard instead of in plastic. I figure basic maintenance is a safety thing, so you can’t avoid it. You can recycle old wheels (scrap metal) and reuse tubes for garden ties. I also saw a company that makes flip flops with old bicycle tubes! Generally speaking though, bikes don’t need too much “stuff”, so it has been ok.

  4. Anon

    “Ah Easter. If there ever was a Western holiday more dominated by plastic encased chocolate, I have yet to hear of it.”

    You mean to tell me that you’ve never heard of Halloween?!?

    • You’re right. I guess I was thinking hard plastic bubble containers vs soft plastic mini chocolate bars. I’m giving out paper wrapped, fair trade chocolate this halloween (if I don’t eat it all first)

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