Greening Purim

In fulfilling the mitzvot of Purim and preparing for joyful celebration, there are numerous opportunities for taking our responsibility to the earth into account. From packing up mishlo’ach manot – traditional selections of food sent anonymously to others – to creating costumes, there are teaching moments for our children and an example to be shared with family, friends, and neighbors.


  • Instead of buying, be creative with items you already own
  • Organize a swap meet with other families to reuse costumes that have been outgrown
  • Rent


Giving money and gifts to the poor is an integral part of celebrating Purim. One should try to give money, food or clothing to at least two needy people. The minimum amount you should give is only about 20 cents per person, but if you can afford to give more, then do so. Technically one is obligated to give money to every needy person who asks on Purim, and it’s preferable to give more money to the poor than to spend tons on your mishlo’ach manot or on making a lavish Purim meal.

Mishlo’ach Manot

Along with your greeting for Purim same’ach – a happy Purim – include a brief explanation about the care you have taken in contributing to a “green” celebration.

Containers: Baskets may be convenient, but unless they are so attractive as to have further use, many people simply toss them out. Consider paper bags, cardboard boxes, cloth shopping bags, inexpensive ceramic bowls, mugs or plates from a dollar store, small insulated coolers, or simply purchase reusable plastic containers with lids.

Contents: Consider quality over quantity, and use organic or locally grown products if possible. Avoid individually wrapped candies to minimize non-recyclable waste.

Along with the traditional hamentaschen, try to feature healthful snacks such as:

  • Fruits that come “in their own wrappers,” such as apples, pears, citrus, bananas, pomegranates, or coconuts
  • Small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit
  • Nuts in the shell – buy in bulk and repackage in recyclable bags; consider adding a nutcracker for extra thoughtfulness
  • Products packaged in reusable or recyclable glass or metal containers
  • Fruit juices and wines in recyclable or cash-deposit bottles

Packing materials: a cloth napkin, bandana, hand towel or dishtowel, colorful shredded magazine or catalog pages, air-popped popcorn, sunflower seeds, banana chips

And when the holiday is over, and you find yourself with more than your family can consume, bring unopened foods to a local charity that distributes food to the needy.

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