You shouldn’t. The custom of owning a lulav set for every adult man and woman, and sometimes for each child, is an environmental disaster.
Consider the packaging. True, if you buy your set on the street there’s less packaging. Otherwise:
- Plastic wrap for the willow branches
- Plastic wrap for the myrtle branches
- Plastic tray and wrap for the lulav (this is new)
- Plastic lulav holder with plastic rod for stability, with zipper, and tiny handle that tears right away. You get a new one of these every year.
- Oversized cardboard box for the etrog, and the sproingy foam thing.
Now, forget about the packaging, and consider:
- The amount of land and water used to produce the etrog, which is inedible. What a waste. Yes, I know that 0.05% of them are turned into jam or liquor with a high level of pesticides.
- The carbon footprint of the transportation costs. [Attention, you sinful people who live outside The Land. Your ECF is huge, and why even bother with the holidays in exile?]
- The trash created at the end of the holiday when it’s time to discard all four of the species. You could compost, but who does?
If you and your spouse share a set with even one other person or couple, think of the environmental benefits. Get one for the whole neighborhood and leave it in your sukkah, and let everyone give you a shekel so that they’re part owners. We can reduce consumption by at least 50% while still doing the mitzvah. Try to remember this for next year. And anyone who lives near me and wants to be a partner in my lulav set is invited to join at this special sale price – ½ shekel.