When Plastic Is Fantastic

When Plastic Is Fantastic

I took my son to an Easter egg hunt on Easter Day 2011. It was his first Easter. I didn’t call ahead of time to ask if the eggs were going to be chicken’s eggs or plastic eggs. I knew they’d be plastic. We went to an Easter egg hunt today, too. Again, I didn’t bother asking if the eggs used would be plastic because I knew they’d be plastic.

How did I know? Well, chicken’s eggs for Easter hunts are more work and more liability than plastic eggs. No one in their right mind would use real eggs for a children’s event these days. Here’s why:

  • Chicken’s eggs would have to have been boiled and dyed, which is a lot of work.
  • Then, the egg hunt organizers would have to worry about the mess the eggs could make if they got trampled or used as weapons (as children are wont to do).
  • And lots of kids are allergic to eggs these days, too.
  • Lastly, the organizers would have to worry about the possibility of salmonella for anyone involved in handling the eggs before, during, or after the egg hunt.

That’s a lot to worry about - a lot more than my worries about finding vegan Easter candy and activities for my vegan family. So I knew those eggs would be plastic eggs. And to my surprise, the organizers reminded everyone to recycle their plastic eggs.

It reminded me of how much easier it is to be vegan these days than when I was a kid. I distinctly remember many Easter egg hunts that involved chicken’s eggs when I was a kid. And though I ate eggs at the time, I remember thinking that Easter egg hunts were a poor use for eggs. It seemed so wasteful to have all these hard boiled eggs just for a kid’s game, knowing only a few of them would ever get eaten. (I remember wondering, Why weren’t the eggs given to hungry people?)

Well now it looks like the American public is moving away from chicken’s eggs in other ares, too, not just egg hunts. In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported “Egg consumption has declined every year since 2006, according to the USDA.” This trend has continued in 2012 and there’s every reason to believe it will continue well into the future.

The decline is related to a lot of things, but it’s probably partially due to the increased public awareness of cruelty to egg-laying hens on factory farms as well as to the increased public awareness of the health risks of eating eggs (high cholesterol, salmonella, etc.). But it’s probably also due to the array of egg alternatives currently available. Compassion Over Killing (COK) writes:

“With so many wonderful vegan cookbooks, recipes, baking tips,  and products available today, it’s never been easier to crack the habit and choose egg-free foods. Start now: visit EggFreeLiving.com

Let’s hope the trend continues – for the benefit of animals, the planet, and human health.

Note: This article was originally published in April 2011. After minor edits, it’s been republished in time for Easter 2012.

5 Responses to When Plastic Is Fantastic

  1. A short little story to add to the abundant reasons why “real” eggs are a bad idea…

    When I was a kid I lived in a city… The only place to do any “Easter egg hunt” was in our apartment. So the eggs were hidden – and found – minus one. This wasn’t realized until weeks later when you could smell the rot from a block away! Ugh! Of course the house got turned upside down till the decayed item was finally located and disposed of. But what a chore and what a stink!

    Yeah… You’re absolutely right that plastic (eggs) is fantastic! ;)

  2. There must be a better alternative than plastic eggs. Plastic hurts animals as much as chicken farms, just in a less direct way. Plastic recycling involves shipping the plastic over seas since we will not do it in the United States, polluting the air and areas that the plastic is recycled, not to mention the health problems that it causes to us through leaching, and most plastic can not be recycled even if it has a little plastic recycling symbol on it. Our ocean ecosystems are being destroyed by plastic. Every sea turtle on this planet has ingested plastic. Land animals are eating it as well. Maybe they make the eggs in a renewable resource like wood, I’m not sure, but it’s worth checking out. At the very least reuse the eggs.

  3. O.K. I looked it up. You can find wooden Easter eggs that open and close. They even used them at the white house last year for environmental reasons. It looks like there are even a small amount of them made using only wood that was harvested sustainably. I don’t mean to rain on your parade, I have recently learned a lot about plastic that I find unsettling and I even came across this post by searching vegans against plastic in google. I’m just trying to get the word out to people who care about animals and the environment. Thanks for being so conscious about animal welfare.

  4. Odd, but your last two posts didn’t show up in my Google reader. When I tried resubscribing just now, they still didn’t show. Just thought you should know in case there’s a problem somewhere.

  5. Yay, we’re going to an Easter Egg hunt tomorrow at a vegan animal sanctuary. I know they are not using real eggs, and the treats inside will be vegan too!

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