Green Your Life: An Eco-Friendly Passover

http://www.motherearthliving.com/Wiser-Living/green-your-life-green-passover.aspx

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Passover is the perfect time to incorporate local and organic foods into your life. Photo By @MSG/Courtesy Flickr.

This year, Passover is couched between Earth Hour (March 28) and Earth Day (April 22), and what better way to continue your commitment to the planet than by preparing and hosting a green seder? Passover starts today and continues on through next week (April 8-16), but there is still time to incorporate a little green into your holiday.

Preparation

-A staple of Passover is the pre-Passover cleaning to get rid of all the bread in your home. Instead of defaulting to just any store-bought cleaner, invest in cleaners that are nontoxic and are made from natural ingredients. If you’re looking to buy a safe cleaner, Seventh Generation offers a wide variety. If you want to venture into darker green territory, try making your own cleaners from ingredients you can find around your home.

-Flowers are a great way to decorate your home for this spring holiday. If you grow your own flowers, display them proudly around your home for your family and friends. If you want to buy flowers, make sure they are locally grown, and preferably organic. Potted flowers and herbs are a more sustainable option because they last longer; plus, you can give them away at the end of the meal as parting gifts.

Shopping

-Always try to remember to BYOB—bring your own bags. This way, you don’t have tons of unwanted extra plastic or paper bags floating around your home after a large shopping trip.

-When possible, buy local and organic foods. An easy way to incorporate local and organic food into your seder is by buying free-range and organic eggs, local fruits and vegetables and local meats. Local kosher meats can be hard to come by, though, so when local isn’t an option, you can still opt for organic with Wise Organic Pastures. Buying organic and/or local matzah is another great way to stay green during Passover. If a local bakery offers matzah that is kosher for Passover, consider yourself lucky and buy some right away. Otherwise, check out Matzah Online for a variety of handmade and organic matzah.

-When choosing a wine, go organic, too. If a local winery makes wine that is kosher for Passover (because not all wines are), buy some of its wine. Otherwise, try a wine from Four Gates—located in California—or visit KosherWine.com for a large selection from around the world.

The Meal

-Make your charoset with local or organic apples and fairly traded nuts. Equal Exchange offers a variety of fair-trade products, including pecans and almonds. For a little extra green, you can also grate horseradish root by hand instead of buying pre-made horseradish.

-If you are attending a seder, try carpooling to limit the number of cars on the road (and thus the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere.)

-Break out the good china instead of relying on disposable plates and utensils. This will help decrease your waste production. And if you have a lot of guests (which means a lot of dirty dishes at the end of the night), wash your dishes in the dishwasher (preferably an Energy Star-rated one) to cut down on wasted water from handwashing (unless you’re using the two-tub method, in which case, go for it!)

-After the meal is over, you are bound to have copious leftovers. Salvage what you can to eat throughout the week, and compost the rest. If you have extra matzah after Passover ends and don’t know what to do with it, make a diorama with it and enter it into The Jew & The Carrot’s Matzah Diorama Contest.