The perennial problem with Easter packaging

29th April 2014 by Alessandro Maccioni

We all love to scoff a few chocolate eggs over the Easter period, what we don’t love is the inevitable build-up of that pesky packaging. And despite our best efforts to keep the mess to a minimum, there always seems to be a mountain of cardboard, plastic and foil left after every year’s egg hunt. Time to call in another rubbish removal company!

Let’s take a moment here to look at some of the figures. On average, a 200g Easter egg includes 54g of cardboard packaging and 2g of foil. That might not sound like much, but it soon tops up; according to the governmental waste website Wrap, there are over 3,000 tonnes of waste generated from commercial Easter egg packaging every year. That’s a figure that’s certainly not to be scoffed at.

Easter Eggs in a Basket

Easter Eggs in a Basket

The responsibility here inevitably lies at the door of the manufacturing companies – those which year in year out capitalise on Easter by mass producing over-packaged products which always leave us with rubbish removal headaches.

This is a point which has been highlighted by the annual Easter Egg packaging reports of Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem MP and long-time campaigner against the excessive use of commercial packaging. Staggeringly, her reports found that on average, only 38% of what’s inside an Easter egg box is actually chocolate.

The good thing is, reports like Swinson’s have put much more pressure on the manufacturing companies to reduce the amount of packaging they use, especially at this time of the year. And in the last few years, this pressure has turned into real action.

Nestlé are due credit here. One in every four chocolate eggs is sold by them during the Easter period, and in 2012 they were the first confectionary company to introduce 100% recyclable packaging across its entire range of Easter products. Unfortunately, other company’s like Thornton’s, Bailey’s and Mark and Spencer’s own brand continue to use plastics in their packaging which can’t be recycled. With such a mixed bag when it comes to packaging, it’s no wonder every year we’re left unsure as to what can be recycled and what can’t.

Thankfully, it seems the supermarkets are beginning to do their bit to help. This year, Sainsbury’s became the first supermarket to allow customers to recycle everything that comes with leftover Easter egg packaging. The scheme involves placing large blue boxes outside 50 of their stores which aim to make the removal of this sort of junk simple. These boxes are able to take card, paper, foil, plastic, ribbon, even rigid plastics which not all local authorities accept. It should be said, though, that none of us in the JunkWize offices have seen any of these boxes anywhere in North, South, East or West London on our travels.

These are good steps but we can only hope more is done year on year, until then we shall keep drawing attention to this perennial problem. Just remember, if the clutter builds and you’re in need of a rubbish removal company in London – JunkWize are your answer!