Eco-friendlier Mishloach Manot


Even as an adult I get a thrill out of receiving mishloach manot. The moment when I return home and view my doorstep with lots of little packages is exhilarating. I like to see who they are from and what’s inside. I like to taste a few things and then panic when I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten someone. But I’ve also become more environmentally and socially conscious as I’ve aged and realized that there are obstacles cluttering the way to my total mishloach manot happiness buzz. I think to myself, why is there so much in each package? How are we going to consume it all before Passover which arrives in a month? Look at all the wrappers and plastic and candy and junk.

Over the past few years I’ve seen people do so some pretty original and creative things that appeal to my innate mishloach manot excitement and were eco-friendly too. One time I received a package that came in a small tera cotta pot with goodies and a package of seeds. Another time someone filled a reusable cup with treats and I used the cup for years afterward. Old cloth can be reborn as a pretty sachet filled with hamentashen or a new towel can act as a nice holder. Old newspapers, wrapping paper, and magazines can be shredded for decoration and popcorn can make good padding.

Quantity can also be swapped for quality with the addition of homemade goodies. As a child I remember looking forward not to the masses of candy but to the mini loaf cakes that came every year from one family. When baking at home one can also control the ingredients at play by choosing healthier ones and products that are fairly traded. I would always prefer fresh roasted nuts to jellybeans but that might just be me.

As anyone involved knows, being environmentally conscious takes being conscientious. It means remembering the reusable bags for the market, breaking down the boxes for recycling, and washing out the dirty mug for the trip to the coffee shop. But I believe that the values of sustainability and eco-friendliness are at the heart of Judaism. Most times when we are celebrating we are asked in the torah to think of those who are less fortunate then ourselves. Not only are we supposed to eat and drink and be merry on Purim, we are asked to deliver mishloach manot and to give gifts to the poor. Perhaps this year we can engage in all of these things while also producing less waste.

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2 Responses to “Eco-friendlier Mishloach Manot”

  1. Hannah Lee Says:

    Cecily, I like to think we’re not “aged,” but “mature.” I like your suggestions! One of the reasons I schedule the shul’s seasonal food collections for the week of Purim is to offer a place for people to donate their surplus mishloach manot. The year the shul’s sisterhood sent out fresh coconuts, we received them right back in the collection bin. So, it’s another kind of recycling and the clients of the local food pantry can enjoy them too.

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