This Easter, as children and adults around the UK excitedly tear open and eat their Easter eggs, perhaps the last thing on their minds will be how much waste they're producing. With over 90million eggs being sold each year in the UK, business is booming for big chocolate companies, but until very recently the environment was paying a heavy price for all of our indulgence.
The peak of Easter egg wastefulness was back around 2009-2012, and at the time it was estimated that a mere 38% of what consumers bought was egg, the rest was packaging. A staggering 3,000 tonnes of waste was produced each year just by Easter egg packaging, but consumers, businesses and the government managed to bring about a change in the way we buy chocolate.
Cutting Easter Egg Waste
In 2008, the polling think-tank Ipsos MORI ran a public poll around what people thought about packaging â€“ whether there was too much of it around, how difficult they found it to dispose of, etc.
Surprisingly, Easter eggs were ranked top by consumers of the most over-packaged food, with 59% saying so, and the poll also revealed that, even then, recycling was an important consideration for many. With the numbers highlighting the concerns of the public, and the rising trend of recycling and 'green' business, companies were finally pushed to cut down on the extravagance of Easter egg packaging.
A few years on, and the waste around Easter eggs is now far less than it was five years ago, and even the most expensive eggs on the high street are now more likely to come in standard cardboard boxes than the hard plastic cases that they used to. When the changes were first announced, NestlÃ© made its packaging 100% recyclable, with many other big brands following suit, whilst all the major companies have made reductions of up to 50%. What packaging remains on the eggs is now usually widely recyclable too, making the holiday even greener.
How To Be Green This Easter
Even with the reduction in packaging around Easter eggs, it's still easy to end up with a big pile of boxes and plastic â€“ especially so for families with children.
To help deal with the extra waste at Easter, many supermarkets now have special bins in their stores that accept Easter egg packaging, guaranteeing that it will be recycled. This is especially useful as many local council's bin collection services are disrupted at Easter due to bank holidays, which can leave household bins overflowing.
As most of us have recycling bins at home now, there's no excuse not to recycle all of your Easter waste â€“ even if the local supermarket doesn't accept it. For those of you who are really overindulging this year, or just looking to do a little spring cleaning and house clearance at the same time, AMA's skip hire services can lend a helping hand.