Saturday, April 2, 2016

Second on the 2nd: a recycled post about Easter

As most of you who follow along on my blog are aware, every April leading up to bEARTHday, I try to create something new from recycled, repurposed, or reusable items and turn them into art.  Each year the task gets harder because there are limited things I can come up with to create.

For example, I'm not one who drinks soft drinks, especially in cans, so art made from aluminum cans is limited.  I also seldom drink anything from plastic bottles, including soft drinks or water.  So making art from plastic bottles is practically out of the question.

You will find a ton of art (and some of it quite clever) made from plastic bottle and jar lids.  Unfortunately, it would take me about as long to collect enough to make art from these lids as it would for plastic lids to disintegrate in the landfill.  I am just not a person who buys plastic.

That reminded me of the plastic we use at Easter, so I am bringing back this post about my beef with Easter.  I call it

Why Easter is not Green

At the risk of repeating myself, I've said this before: for being so green, Easter isn't really green at all.  So, please put up with my antics while I share my thoughts with you.

What do I mean by Easter not being green?  Easter celebrates a rebirth, time for renewal, time for spring. It often occurs around the time we celebrate Earth Day, too. So why is it, you ask, that it’s one of the most UN-green holidays ever? Plastic, plastic, plastic.

In case you’ve never celebrated an Earth Day, or have never heard of, or thought about recycling, plastic is a petroleum product. It lives simply forever in the landfill. On a larger scale, it’s the material that wars have been fought over, especially those in my lifetime. 

Supplies: Plastic Easter Eggs and Napkins

Plastic has taken over the Easter industry. There’s probably more plastic sold, then disposed of at Easter than at Christmastime, although I have no statistics to support that. Granted, even though I don’t have kids, I can see what is being sold in the stores: plastic baskets wrapped in cellophane or plastic, loaded with plastic eggs, along with individual chocolate bunnies wrapped in hard plastic shells, sitting atop plastic grass in various colors.  Even Peeps, those disgusting marshmallow confectioneries sold in the United States and Canada, shaped like chickens and bunnies, come wrapped in plastic.

Am I a cynic? No. I love Easter. It even lands on my birthday on occasion. But parents need to indulge their children in a very different way using only recycled or eco-friendly materials to celebrate this holiday which will also provide a great teaching moment.

However, if you have some of these ugly eggs, here's a way you can use them to your advantage.  BTW, I got mine at a garage sale years and years and years ago (probably sometime in the late 1980s).

Although my plastic eggs are very old, I have observed two types.  One type snaps together in two parts, and one type is fused together, like the one above.  This is a single egg that snaps shut, while the other type twists apart into two pieces.  I'm not describing this too well, I'm sure, but you don't want this one.  You want the egg that comes apart into two pieces.

Now that you've chosen your plastic egg, pull a napkin of your choice apart.  There will be three layers, so be sure to use only the top layer.

Once your napkin is apart, turn it over and cut it in a circle.  Cover the egg with the glue of your choice.  I prefer white PVA glue which helps the napkin shrink and fit perfectly on the egg, while sealing the entire assembly.  When dry, you can even stamp on your egg(s).

Try not to press too hard, because the napkins are fragile and will tear apart, like mine did.  However, since the egg color and the napkin colors were compatible, once the glue dried, my error didn't show as badly. 

Once dry, place your egg in your Easter basket and make about a dozen more!

While I make a few more of these, let’s look at some of the worse plastic Easter offenders and some possible alternatives.

1. Plastic Easter baskets. Alternative: buy natural fiber baskets at the thrift store, or dig out one you’ve had for years like I did.

2. Cellophane or plastic wrapped Easter gift baskets. Alternative: consider wrapping your Easter basket using tissue or other eco-friendly materials. Or, leave it unwrapped if it doesn't have far to travel to reach the recipient.

3. Candy goodies wrapped in plastic to go in the plastic baskets. Alternative: dye real eggs using natural dyes with your kids and hide them in the baskets or outdoors early on Easter morning. Instead of buying the pre-made chocolate bunnies, why not buy a bar or two of your (or your kids) favorite chocolate and cover with various bunny stickers or rubber stamped images.

4. Plastic grass. Alternative: Use your paper shredder to make recyclable grass. When Easter is over, put the shredded paper in your compost pile or around the base of your plants. Don't leave it in your basket, because it might attract varmints or critters. If you have plastic grass, be sure to either dispose of it quickly and responsibly so pets (like curious cats, dogs, or birds) don't get into it and accidentally digest it, or do as I do, wrap your basket filled with the grass (probably purchased in the 80s) in a large kitchen trash bag that you keep from year to year.  Never dispose of it so birds can get it. They will be attracted to it to use in their nests.

5. Hard plastic wrapped chocolate bunnies:  Alternative: Instead of a chocolate bunny, find the softest, cuddliest stuffed bunny rabbit to add to a child's Easter basket.

6. Plastic eggs.  Alternative: Here's a look at some I've made in previous years.

I hope you find some lovely napkins to recycle your ugly offensive plastic eggs this year (next year since Easter has come and gone) and turn Easter into a genuine green holiday!  Note too, this is the same basket and same green plastic grass I use every year.


I hope you enjoyed this look back on my take of why Easter is not green.  For Day 2 leading up to bEARTHday, I recycled two Easter posts.  Be aware I'll be sharing another way plastic eggs can be used, and not just for Easter.   Look for that post soon.

Now it's time for you to link your second look on the 2nd.  The rules are quite simple.  All you have to do is bring back a post that you are especially proud of, or one you shared before anyone knew your blog existed.  Then link below and Bleubeard and I, along with other Second on the 2nd friends, will be by to visit.  If you are new to Second on the 2nd, and your blog post permits only GOOGLE+ responses, I (and several others) can´t comment on your entry.  It's all in the way you set up your blog responses.

Please be aware this link is only open for five days, so it's best to post sometime on the 2nd.

12 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Interesting tips on transforming ugly plastic stuff, I try to avoid buying it as much as possible. Have a lovely day, hugs, Valerie

johanna said...

i´m definitely a easter recycler, too! all decorations are quite old, from the days the Kids were Little. actually i did not decorate for easter this year at all (maybe a consequence of the empty nest... nest related to Kids;)).
i totally like your Little blue flowers napkin you took for covering the plastic egg. nice pattern! (i buy napkins for their Patterns exclusively!)
and i did not Forget about the second look this time:)
have a great Weekend!

My name is Erika. said...

That basket of eggs is beautiful and what a great idea. I have a bunch of those eggs in a bag in the attic that I used when my daughter was a kid, but I hate the throw away society we are-including plastic eggs. So mine have been reused many times, and now they are looking a little tired. But that is an easy fix. Thanks for this great idea. I can tell you studied engineering and come up with clever fixes, because that's what engineers do.I live with 2, and come from a family of 2, so I know that for a fact! Hugs-Erika

pearshapedcrafting said...

I love your way of using the pretty napkin to decorate the eggs! My GD(and up till this year my GS too) kept plastic eggs from years ago and now all her Dad does is fill them with smaller eggs or sweets for the egg hunt. They also have some of those re-useable card ones too with pretty decorations on. I will be asking them to keep their eggs to decorate when she too is too old to hunt for eggs!
My bugbear packaging wise is mixed material boxes - you know the sort with plastic windows set into cardboard which means you have to take the darn things apart before putting in the recycling bin - still the plastic does come in handy as little paint palettes!
Hope you are enjoying your weekend - we have rain here…again!
BTW I love the expression "varmints or critters"
Hugs, Chrisx

Sandra Cox said...

OMGosh. What a wonderful idea for plastic eggs! I'll have to try that next year.

Jeanie said...

Very pretty and wonderful eggs! I liked all the tips. Happy belated Easter and thanks for posting these to keep in mind next year!

Krisha said...

I remember this post.
It's a great 2nd look on the 2nd and the beginning of you bEARTH day month.

Jeanie said...

PS -- Saw your comment and would be honored to be on your sidebar. I'm hoping to update mine soon -- may I add yours when I do?

Halle said...

I loved this post before and still love it. We save our eggs from year to year as well as the baskets. I've yet to try your technique with the plastic eggs though. They turned out so cute.

Dianne said...

very good the napkin on the egg...looks a lot better than plastic, that's for sure. And I think I have an old basket that looks just like this! love old baskets...I sure wish there were less plastic wrapping on everything we buy...

My name is Erika. said...

Thanks for the link to the maple syrup post. I loved it- that sugar shack was way fancier than the one on my street. I loved finding this new blog too. There was a post to the Shaker village in Lebanon, NH, which I have never been too as it is way across state from me, but looks like a place I should visit. Enjoy the rest of your weekend Elizabeth. Hugs!

Divers and Sundry said...

We have always re-used Easter decorations, only replacing those plastic eggs when they break. I still have the Easter basket I had when I was little. Once all the plastic grass eventually went the way of all old things, we started cutting green paper into strips and curling it. It's fun to see how your paper napkins transformed those plain eggs.