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Pesach & the Environment

recycle with question mark
recycle symbol with question mark on top

Guilt. I’m already feeling guilty about the amount of garbage our family produces on Pesach. And the type of garbage.

Gil Student at Hirhurim posted online passover guides this morning and included this note from the cRc:

Paper Goods: All are acceptable, including all paper plates, bowls and cups, all paper and plastic table cloths, as well as all paper towels. It is suggested to not use hot foods or drinks on starched paper goods. Styrofoam products [emphasis mine] may be used instead.

So this is the only time of year I buy Styrofoam. Not only is this stuff bad for the environment, it’s bad for your health, too. (I try not to think too much about this. Stress is bad for your health as well). DO NOT put Styrofoam in the microwave. Buy some uncoated paper plates and use those.

On a positive note, it is always so wonderful to see the greens on the Seder table. In Eastern Europe, where it was hard or impossible to get greens, potatoes were substituted for Karpas and horseradish for Maror, the bitter herbs. Nowadays, we can have both the greens (Romaine Lettuce for Maror and Parsley for Karpas) and the Eastern European traditions.

A tradition I’ve heard of for pre-school children is to plant parsley in a cup on Tu B’Shvat (usually occurs in February) and to nurture the plant so that it is ready to be used by Pesach. Not being very good at indoor gardening, however, (outdoor gardening is much more forgiving; Mother Nature helps), I do have some parsley growing outside my kitchen. Parsley is a biennial, so the little plants I grew from seed last summer (the ones that didn’t die in year one) are now thriving:

Daniel Saunders says

Interesting about the starched paper plates, as I think the London Bet Din is suggesting to avoid them completely.

For several years we have used plastic cutlery and plates for seder, because it makes the tidying up go faster. I do feel a bit guilty about it. But pesach brings out the more obsessional and guilt-driven parts of my psyche anyway.

mother in israel says

I didn't like it that all of the rabbis are suggesting using paper plates for the Shabbat meals. ALthough in the end we decided to just use thin plastic disposable plates, not paper with starch and not styrofoam. We will use regular glasses and flatware.

I have comments on each of your last two posts but they will have to wait.

Leora says

Daniel, thanks so much for a first time post!

Mother in Israel, nice to hear from you at this busy time!

Alyssa says

Not exactly related to this article, but I must ask. Under the subject of Pesach Kashrut, please shed some light to this non-expert.

Today in an e-mail list I'm on, someone asked for acceptable "kosher le Pesach" fish food. Specifically, she says:
"ie, dried shrimp".

Can you explain to me why something in the form of shrimp would be acceptable to have around during Pesach where regular fish food wouldn't be? What am I not understanding here?

Leora says

Hey, Alyssa!

We are not allowed to OWN chametz, which is in a lot of fish food. I believe (and I'm no rabbi) that we are allowed to feed our pets treif food (like shrimp). The commandment is not on OWNERSHIP, but on eating.

If I find a real answer posted somewhere, I'll put it in another comment.

Leora says

I couldn't find anything about whether it is OK to feed a fish shrimp on Passover or any other time. It's an Ask Your Rabbi kind of question. But in general, the rules for chametz are stricter than other kashrut rules.