Ten Tips for an Environmentally-Friendly Purim

Purim celebrates unity and community. We give one another gifts of food and distribute money to the poor to remember how we were rescued from Haman’s plot to destroy the Jewish people by pulling together in three days of communal fasting, prayer and self reflection. Sadly, in today’s consumer-oriented society, our community spirit is being smothered in layers of cellophane, excessive packaging, a surplus of junk food and expensive costumes. This needless glitter is not only damaging to our  pocket and our health, but to our environment as well.

Try the following suggestions for creating a more environmentally-friendly Purim:


  1. Trash the Baskets  – What can you do with so many straw baskets and gift bags? Package your Mishloach 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 your food items up 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 3-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 Mishloach 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 is saves the time and excess food & packaging of multiple gift-giving, 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.
Reproduced by permission of www.svivaisrael.org