10 tips for a green Purim

A religious environmental NGO has compiled a list of 10 ways to be more environmentally friendly.

purim (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Sviva Israel, a religious environmental NGO, has put together a list of 10 practical ways Purim can be more environmentally friendly. 1. Trash the baskets - What can you do with so many straw baskets and gift bags? Package your Mishloah Manot in useful, reusable containers such as storage containers, glasses, mugs and pasta drainers for year-round usability. 2. Wrap it up - For the more creative, wrap up your food items in a pretty hand towel, apron, cloth table napkins, oven mitts or other useful fabric item. 3. Sustainable stuffing - Instead of padding out your package with shredded cellophane or colored paper, use banana chips, sunflower seeds or popcorn (only for recipients over three years old). 4. Bag it - Follow the fashion trend and give your gifts in eco-friendly cloth bags that your friends can reuse for shopping. 5. Naturally sweet - Replace the candy and chocolates with fresh and dried fruit or fruit leathers, unsweetened fruit juices and other healthy products. 6. Purim swap shop - Your son doesn't want to wear last year's cowboy outfit? Many costumes are perennial favorites. Create a neighborhood swap shop with everyone's unwanted, worn-once Purim costumes. 7. Raid Mom's/Dad's closet - Introduce your kids to the old Purim tradition of creating their own costumes from your (old) clothing, hats, shoes and jewelry. Encourage their imagination to run wild. 8. Recycling can be cool - Making a costume from cardboard boxes, kitchen roll tubes, etc. needn't be old-fashioned. Your child could become an iPod, cellphone or digital camera. 9. Join a Purim co-op - Give Mishloah Manot as a community. Compile a list of all the members in the community (neighborhood, synagogue, seniors group, etc.). People can check off the names of those they would like to send a gift to, contributing a set amount for each name. Volunteers prepare and deliver one nice-sized food gift to each person, with a note listing all of their friends who thought of them. The beauty of this idea is that it saves the time and excess food and packaging of multiple gift-giving and creates a strong sense of community fellowship, and any profits can be given to charity. 10. Share the spoils - Purim is over and you find yourself overloaded with unwanted food gifts? Bring (unopened) food items to a local charitable organization to distribute to needy families.