The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
April 20, 2011

Plastic Easter Eggs for Your Eco-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt?

Ah, the seasonal aisle. It’s always full of some kind of plastic. This time of year, we’re confronted by walls of brightly (some would say garishly) colored plastic Easter eggs, and bunnies, and baskets, and plastic grass, and all that stuff. Because what’s a holiday without plastic, right?

plastic easter eggs

After running into the plastic egg wall at CVS and having the expected freak out, I started remembering all the fun I had as a kid, hunting for those plastic eggs with their little surprises inside. Sure, we dyed real eggs too. But the plastic ones held secret treasures! Then, as I was walking home reminiscing, I passed a local thrift store in my neighborhood, and what did I spy through the window? Secondhand plastic Easter eggs!

plastic easter eggs

And more plastic Easter eggs…

plastic easter eggs

And further down the street, another thrift shop had them too, as well as Easter baskets.

plastic easter eggs

plastic easter eggs

I thought I’d found the perfect Easter solution for folks who have kids and who really want plastic Easter eggs. Why not get the plastic eggs secondhand and save them to use year after year? I reasoned, secondhand plastic Easter eggs should be fine as long as you collect every single one after the hunt to keep them from polluting the environment.  Save resources.  Use something that already exists.

But then I remembered…

Used Plastic Eggs Not Great After All

A few years ago, there were scares about kids’ toys containing lead and news of thrift shops opting to dump or refusing to accept toys because of possible lead contamination and the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new policies. So, just to be on the safe side, I Googled “plastic Easter eggs lead,” not really expecting to find anything. But sure enough…

03/18/2008, USA Today: Plastic Easter Eggs Linked to Lead Paint

Well, crap. My brilliant idea was not so brilliant after all. How could you know whether secondhand plastic eggs contained lead or not? You couldn’t without a fancy analyzer gun like The Smart Mama Jennifer Taggart has. So forget plastic eggs. Just forget I ever mentioned ’em.

Real Easter Eggs

So then I started remembering all the fun we had dyeing real eggs with Mom.  The Crunchy Domestic Goddess site has some cool natural dye recipes made from foods.  No need to buy a special egg dyeing kit.

But then I remembered…

Real eggs come fraught with some nasty truths as well. Even the certified humane eggs may not be as humane as you think.*

*I would be a hypocrite if I lead you to believe that I never eat eggs.  I’m not perfect.  But I can’t recommend them either, knowing what I know.

This post is going nowhere fast, isn’t it?

DIY Easter Egg Alternatives

Never one to be deterred, I consulted my friend Google again (although I gotta be honest, Google and I have our differences lately.  But that’s another story.)  And we found some DIY instructions for cool plastic-free egg-free Easter Eggs.

1) Make your own felted Easter Eggs. (Amber Strocel tried it.  Check out her cute “failed” attempt at felted eggs.)

2) Sew your own flat felt Easter egg pockets.

Yes, I know wool isn’t always cruelty-free either, so regarding #1 and #2, know where your wool comes from and how the sheep were treated.

3) Make your own braided fabric Easter eggs from scrap fabric and recycled plastic bottles.  Do not, I repeat, do NOT buy plastic bottles for this project!  Use ones you find on the street or rescue from friends who haven’t kicked the habit yet.

4) Make your own knitted Easter eggs.  And consider using yarn recycled from worn out garments.

5) Decorate wooden eggs.

6) Decoupage the above-mentioned wooden eggs into Angry Birds Easter Eggs.  Srsly.

What kind of Easter eggs will you have this year?

Obviously, not all of us (me included) celebrate Easter.  And those of us who do don’t necessarily care about Easter eggs.  But if eggs are your thing, what kind will you have  this year?  And if not, what eco-friendly things do you do for Solstice, Passover, or whatever spring celebration you enjoy?

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51 Comments on "Plastic Easter Eggs for Your Eco-Friendly Easter Egg Hunt?"

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eco friendly every day
10 months 5 days ago

Why not try eco eggs? eco eggs are made in the USA from plants & are 100% renewable, compostable & BPA Free – NO petroleum or harmful chemicals to leach into candy. They will decompose in industrial compost or can be reused each year.

1 year 2 months ago

Hi Beth
I enjoyed finding and reading your blog just now re: plastic Easter eggs.  I’ve been trying to find out how many are sold each year.  I’m on the hunt (pun intended) for people who might go to Quirky to rave about my idea for reusable eggs that can be dyed (and maybe have treats inside, too)!  If you and or your audience is interested in a read-all-about, please visit the page for RePeeps (working title):
Thanks for the egg lesson and possibly…your support!
Angie Miles

1 year 8 months ago

Have you heard of eco eggs – they are plastic Easter eggs made from plants – no petroleum. eco eggs are 100% compostable, biodegradable, BPA-free and made in the USA by a woman-owned, veteran-owned company.
Oh, there’s also eco grass – 100% recycled & recyclable.

3 years 7 months ago

Next year, I’m going to make eggs (to hide chocolates, etc) from egg cartons and tissue paper.

4 years 7 months ago

I’d like to object to the above poster who said it’s a pain to keep chickens. It may be a pain if there are ordnance problems – but you can get those changed! Check out for more information on changing local laws.

Keeping a few chickens is almost NO work, IMO, once you have a little coop built for them. Feed them in the a.m., lock them up in the p.m. and collect eggs sometime during the day. We have about 40 on our farm plus more in the incubator. It probably takes me 20 minutes a day, plus we… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

We have a bunch of plastic easter eggs that we bought several years ago, so we could re-use those. Or we could have, if it had occurred to us. But they’re in a basket in the pantry….

This year, we blew some of our own chickens’ eggs and painted them. If you want chicken eggs (or duck or goose) then get to know local sources. There are a lot of people raising chickens in their backyards these days, or I would think a farmers’ market would be a good source of eggs that you know are not mass produced. Ditto on… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

You know…I think that this is one of the reasons that people “give up”. The problem is that it’s very hard to be truly green and cruelty-free. There’s always a “yeah, but…” looming around each corner. I love that you maintain a positive attitude and keep looking for alternatives. It’s inspirational! Our family (parents, siblings, nieces) have been using the same plastic eggs for 8 years now. But I’m thinking that when I have little ones, I might make some of those felt ones! So. Cute.

[…] about her plastic free life is now called My Plastic-free Life. Here’s a great post about Plastic Easter Eggs. Below is a video of Beth at […]

4 years 7 months ago

I want to start buying these every year, have the kids paint them, and then we can fill and hide them on Easter!

4 years 7 months ago

Just in case anyone checks back–I asked on Freecycle for used plastic eggs, and am about to inherit what sounds like the perfect amount today! Freecycle ROCKS!

And I so appreciate the other suggestions people have been making about such things–LOVE the crochet eggs idea! would work like the felted wool, but might wash up easier after use. Guess I will have to learn how to crochet. . .

And someone mentioned this above, but I forgot about decorating little egg-shaped cookies to put inside–cute! And pennies (heck, throw in a nickel ever so many eggs) make… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

Aracona chickens lay naturally colored eggs. The eggs can be light tan, to olive, to robin’s egg blue. Free range is a marketing ploy when the eggs are from a large coroporation, but it is also the language farmers use to describe their birds because the broader public understands what it is suposed to mean. Aracona’s are a farmsted breed. Factory farms don’t use this breed because they are less efficient. If you want to eat well, you have to seek out farmers that share your ideals about food production (milk, meat, or vegis). … Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

When I was a kid, my family didn’t believe in buying those plastic eggs. My grandma made us crocheted easter eggs. She had a huge batch and we reused them every year. She still owns them(she’s 97) and puts them out every single year, and has even used them for her great grandchildren. Some of them even had our names crocheted into them. We would go out and hunt them, and then we’d come inside and put them in the large decorated wicker basket that she still displays them in. Then she’d give us the homemade treats she made for… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

We celebrate Passover over here and there’s not a lot of plastic associated with the holiday. I have to admit my kids love a good Easter egg hunt-plastic eggs and candy! I do know that the family who hosts always recycles from year to year. Hopefully the eggs aren’t laden with lead. Guess I’ll have to borrow that gun from Jennifer!

Bill Brikiatis
4 years 7 months ago

One of my friends keep chickens for the eggs … well, actually her son does. We live in a suburb of Boston. She needed to go to the zoning board to get a varience to keep the chickens in her neighborhood. It seems that any kind of farm animal in my town is not allowed.

It’s too bad it’s such a pain to have a few chickens. It’s the best possible way to make sure that the chickens are cared for properly and that they are eating things that you want to end up in your Easter eggs.

4 years 7 months ago

These are some good ideas! I am not a religious person so Easter, like other religious holidays, is mostly about a scheduled time to see my family all in one place. Ugh, but the plastic is pretty despicable at these over-marketed times.

Last year, I was flirting with veganism (and, for that matter, a new romantic interest who was vegan! Surprisingly, these weren’t connected). So while my family did easter egg decorating, I painted small smooth rocks for myself and to give to this person. While I got my share of jokes from my family, they… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

I remember having a few metal eggs as a kid. They were painted and always seemed more special than the other eggs. I don’t know where they went or where we got them from.

4 years 7 months ago

People who hang plastic eggs on their trees and bushes used to just make me laugh because its tacky but now I see it as being sad, another useless plastic thing. On another subject has anyone seen the diaper companies now have disposable one time use swim suits for kids, what a waste and more plastic pollution. Let’s hope the high oil prices will at least cut down on manufacturing of plastic. g

4 years 7 months ago

I found some hideous camouflage plastic eggs which I labelled “April’s Stupid Plastic Crap”.

Added by Beth: Here’s the link to Linda’s post. It is really stupid and really crappy. The eggs, not the post.

4 years 7 months ago

I am currently reprinting some of the articles I wrote last year about misleading labels on eggs, animal cruelty and natural Easter egg dyes because I think it’s such an important issue right now. I just can’t say enough how much it bugs me to have all those darn plastic eggs in the stores, or to have egg sales spike so much at this time of year – most of them from inhumanely treated chickens. :( I love Easter but wish (as with all holidays) that it didn’t come with all the consumerist crap.

I am lucky, I have to admit… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

Sometimes I feel like eggs are the ONE THING i can feel 100% good about in my life. (I have three pet hens.)

The eggs won’t dye, though – too dark in color! Oh well, you can’t have everything!

4 years 7 months ago

I also preferred the plastic eggs with prizes (& sometimes money) inside.

You could make the knitted eggs, but instead of stuffing & sewing them closed create a cinch-tie at the top (maybe with a pretty ribbon from a thrift store?) & stuff with eco-friendly goodies. May look a little lumpy, but I doubt kids would care.

4 years 7 months ago

My mom got our son plastic Easter eggs a few years ago, so I’ve been re-using them. We put money inside and we’re also trying to get some egg shaped river stones to paint like eggs.

4 years 7 months ago

OK… now I finally understand what those plastic eggs are all about. I never heard of putting treats inside of them, I always thought they were just for decoration, which seemed pretty stupid to me. You learn something new every day.

My only kids are of the feline variety, and to be honest it never occurred to me that I should hide something for them. But now that you mention it… when I was a kid we always did the traditional Easter egg hunt with real eggs. But one year, we couldn’t find them all. After what seemed like hours of… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

Our family puts together a treasure hunt with clues that leads to the easter basket at the end. We’ve also hunted for real dyed eggs some years. I’ll be containing candy in paper boxes to go in the basket along with gifts. I’m not sure paper boxes would work with egg hunts though since they are fragile and not egg shaped.

4 years 7 months ago

I had a similar crisis a few years ago. I wish I could have found some second hand eggs, but instead I bought a batch of new plastic eggs. However, I plan to use them over and over and over… I also love Easter egg hunts, so last year I hid eggs and invited some neighborhood kids to join my son. At the end of the hunt we counted everyone’s eggs (for fun) and then they took their prizes out of the eggs and put the eggs back in a bag for me to use again the next year. No… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

Our family never had the plastic eggs or gifts for Easter. We did the tradional easter egg hunt with real eggs along with the easter egg basket with no gifts. The whole family took an evening to cook and dye the eggs, these are some very fond memories. Simple and a fun family activity.

4 years 7 months ago

I reuse the plastic eggs every year as well. A couple candies touching it for an hour doesn’t bother me.

4 years 7 months ago

I bought plastic Easter Eggs 23 years ago. I have reused the same ones for all of these years. Granted there have been a couple of casualties and a few lost but they are holding up well. My new thing is crepe paper carrots with surprises wrapped in the layers of crepe paper. The paper can be reused too, if not too damaged by over anxious children to get into them.

Jane Schneider
4 years 7 months ago

I’m going to hide a few eggs for my granddaughter this year; I still have the ones that were my kids’ from years and years ago but bought just a few bigger ones to put small gifts in. I got a tiny metal purse (plastic handle only) and some foil wrapped bath salts balls. the smaller eggs will have loose change in them.

Another idea from years gone by is making and decorating egg shaped cookies..

4 years 7 months ago

My kids are almost past the egg hunt stage now; if their friends are around, then it’s not cool. But if the younger cousins are around, then they’re happy to help out!

My solution: Mini Chocolate eggs wrapped in foil. You can buy cheap ones or quality ones based on your budget & preference. The foil is better then plastic in the long run, and if you buy them from a bulk bin then you don’t have the extra plastic packaging. The main drawback I had one year was making sure they didn’t get hidden too… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

We’ll be participating in a community Easter egg hunt this year. They have “eggcycling” centers. After the hunt is complete, the kids empty candy from the eggs into their baskets and then return the plastic eggs to the center for use next year.

As for home, we have metal mesh Easter baskets (shaped like bunnies) that my MIL gave us last year. I use the shredder to shred some green paper for the grass, and put it in the compost pile after the kids are done with their baskets. I’ve also just washed out the pails the… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

Oh, and Betsy–I appreciate the desire to not fill your plastic eggs with candy (and artificial colors and preservatves, yadda yadda) but stickers? In other words, you filled your plastic eggs with more plastic?

I have become staunchly anti-sticker. Not only are they plastic, and usually single-use (fie on you, Trader Joe’s handouts to the kids in the groccery line, stickers which might live for 10 seconds in my toddlers’ hands before they are in the trash–stop giving them to my child before I can politely decline!) but they have dumbed them down so much that they… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

I have been wondering what to do as well. I’m pretty staunchly anti-plastic, but never minded the plastic easter eggs because a) they were what my parents used when i was a kid, so they are nostalgic, b) they had been around for who knows how long, so I figured it was being plastic-wise to keep them in use–you know, respect the plastic if you have it and make the most of its miserable life, c) we never bought them, just inherited them when at family Easter events, so it was not like I was supporting the plastic industry… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

We celebrate Ostara, the spring equinox, so our celebration was last month. We haven’t dyed eggs since going vegan, but I’d consider it if the eggs came from rescued chickens who get to live out their natural lives in non-profit sanctuaries or private homes. Sorry, but “humane” and “free-range” are terms with no legal definition or enforceability. They are marketing terms.

Because we don’t have human children, our main event in recent years has been the Ostara treat hunt for our dogs. We hide a variety of goodies in the backyard for them to find. It’s like Christmas for them, and… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

Well I sure am glad we don’t celebrate Easter because it is such a plastic filled holiday! I know the hobby and craft store here carries cardboard eggs to decorate for whatever purposes. I picked up a couple for my daughter a while back for her to play cook with. We left ours plain brown, but they would look cute decorated too I’m sure, for those who want an eco-friendly alternative. Since we stopped celebrating Easter I actually sold all my old plastic eggs and the bright colored baskets because I hated wasting all that plastic like so many others… Read more »

Melissa B
4 years 7 months ago

Come to think of it, my tea strainer (not really a ball) is kind of egg shaped. (Oh! Strawberry puerh tea!)
I like the ideas of making treats/cookies together and hiding real or wooden eggs. You get the hunt & a treat!

4 years 7 months ago

Yep, I’ll admit it. I bought NEW plastic eggs this year. I’m probably the only person commenting on this post with such an egregious confession. (Your readership – or at least your commenting readership – all seems so very far down the plastic-free path, Beth.) I’m participating in a neighborhood Easter egg hunt. I’m filling mine with stickers mostly. I wanted my kids to be able to participate, and this is how it goes. We were at a friend’s house for Easter a few years ago, they had a few eggs hidden for the… Read more »

Laurie Meyerpeter
4 years 7 months ago

I never had the plastic egg experience. Easter activities involved a basket with real wheat grass started a couple of weeks earlier, lots of decorated eggs, and a few chocolate eggs. We’ve raised our own chickens for years too, and they live happy, humane chicken lives. No macerated wee roosters either. We normally order “straight-run” chicks so we get both sexes. Or we hatch our own. We always decorate the eggs using lots of crayons and some dye (sometimes natural), but our eggs are actually naturally decorated because we have many breeds of chickens. Some eggs are blue, others… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

We don’t celebrate anything at this time of year. But it seems like Erin’s children already have the ultimate spring egg hunt experience. Real eggs laid – and hidden – by real hens in thir own yard. What could be better than that?

4 years 7 months ago

We got 4 chickens that were about a week old at christmas. They are just about laying age so the kids go out every couple days and check all the places where the chickens hang out to see if there are any eggs. Truthfully there is probably another 2 weeks before they start laying but they might start early… We also will try out boiling eggs with blueberries and probably red onion peel this year…

Nancy Tusinski
4 years 7 months ago

After I read your blog post….I thought, “What about wooden nesting dolls? Do they make nesting eggs?” It took a little searching, but yes there are wood nesting eggs, unpainted. These would be great for an egg hunt! A little expensive, but something you could pass down…they would last forever. Here the the website where I found them.

4 years 7 months ago

Thankfully, my dear children decided to leave the Easter bunny alone this year, and have requested lunch at their favorite Indian buffet instead. Perhaps it’s my continual reminder to them that Easter isn’t about candy and bunnies?

Mary K
4 years 7 months ago

You mention knowing where your wool comes from…. the same can be said for eggs. If you actually KNOW the farmer and the farm from which you get your eggs, then you can feel a lot more comfortable in knowing how the chickens are treated. I realize not everyone may be able to know their farmers, but I’m lucky in that I do have that option, and feel very good about the source of my eggs. Of course, if you are vegan, then I guess you do still have a dilemma for the real eggs and then… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

I’m sad to say my family is not very eco-friendly when it comes to celebrating Passover. The Romaine lettuce my mom bought to be bitter herbs was in a plastic bag, the large pack of matza boxes was collectively wrapped in plastic, and the garlic I bought last-minute to make my pan-fried asparagus was wrapped in plastic netting. And that’s just the beginning of it.

I’ve been pondering how to green our celebrations, so hopefully by the next Jewish holiday I will have better news.

4 years 7 months ago

We dye eggs with natural dyes (the food co-op lets me clean the onion skins out of the bottom of the bin), order fair trade foil covered chocolate eggs (and bunnies) from, and make sugar cookies in the shape of bunnies, chicks and eggs and decorate them. And I buy paper grass—ok, it came in a plastic bag once-upon-a-atime, but I collect it all from the Easter baskets (also saved year to year) and use it again. For a number of years, I have been collecting eggs made of ceramic, wood, stone, etc, and put them out each year… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

My husband and I decided not to do Easter bunny related stuff.
For us, Christ’s resurrection is what we celebrate.
Chocolate and a gift for the little boy and reading the story from the bible.

All the bunny stuff is too commercialized and meaningless.

4 years 7 months ago

I’m having such a hard time with Easter this year. My son is just old enough to understand and appreciate the whole bunny and egg hunt thing, so I’m really excited. But options are so limited.

We don’t do the plastic egg thing. I never got that in the first place, and I certainly won’t start now. Wrapped chocolate eggs are nice and sanitary for hiding, but try finding certified fair trade chocolate eggs in my neighborhood (and on a budget).

We only buy organic free range eggs, but we’re not ready for dying yet. So I’m pretty stumped. I’m always torn… Read more »

4 years 7 months ago

but loved the post alot…each visit to the grocery store is a painful experience for me

4 years 7 months ago

how about rolling out dough into egg shaped things and without adding baking soda and baking them or drying them into hard rounds/eggs and dipping them in beetroot water, turmeric water, spinach water etc

4 years 7 months ago