Easter is upon us once again, and with recycling in the news like never before, consumers are now far more aware of issues around packaging.
A report by Which? revealed that plastic and cardboard packaging is around a quarter of the total weight of Easter eggs. The outer packaging of one of the Top 10-selling brands tipping the scales at 152g of a 418g product (or 36.4%).
In the days before widespread recycling, there would be a seasonal overload at tips and landfill sites. Confectionary giants eventually relented to environmental and parliamentary pressure against egregious ‘the bigger the better’ Easter egg outer packaging.
Mars, Nestle, and Cadbury’s all reduced the size and weight of their packaging by at least 25% a decade ago. Efforts are still ongoing to make it with more eco-friendly materials. Although they need to look attractive, the packaging does also serve a practical purpose. The inner plastic shell is there to protect the Easter egg from breaking and helps extend the product’s shelf life.
That reduces waste to a certain degree, although the offset isn’t there if someone throws the inner shell into the bin.
This leaves the big question:
Is Easter egg packaging recyclable?
The answer is, mostly, a resounding ‘yes’.
However, let’s start with the two things you can’t typically recycle. The plastic ‘windows’ in the front of the boxes are still a no-no at this stage, and any wrappers from chocolate bars which accompany the egg will also need to go into your general waste bin.
The good news is that like any other piece of cardboard, the outer packaging (minus the ‘window’) is 100% recyclable.
As it’s made from PET, the same material as plastic bottles (and tennis balls, oddly enough), councils across the UK accept the inner plastic shell for recycling.
The last piece of packaging is the foil shell which wraps the Easter egg. Again, you can recycle foil anywhere in the country, and all you need to do is to scrunch it up into a ball. You need to be on the lookout for any contamination issues, though. If lots of chocolate is on the inside of the foil, it won’t be recyclable. That said, chocolate is an easy substance to clean from foil, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
Ultimately, if you segregate your cardboard into the paper/card bin, and the plastic into its correct container, you’ll have done your bit for a close to zero waste Easter.
When were Easter eggs invented?
Easter eggs date all the way back to the 13th century. Eggs were prohibited during Lent, so became elaborately decorated and eaten in celebration at the end of the fast.
First introduced to Britain in 1873 by Fry’s, shoppers now buy around 80 million chocolate eggs each year.
More about Fresh Start
Fresh Start is a Manchester-based waste management company, specialising in the collection and recycling of all cardboard and plastic waste throughout the North West. Contact us here or call 0808 178 1966 if your business needs an efficient waste service.