How do you buy yours – naked or with full packaging?
Easter Eggs have been on shop shelves since just after Valentine’s Day and the bright colourful packaging has been calling out ‘buy me’ to shoppers for weeks now. The amount of chocolate has been steadily increasing over the last few weeks and many people will be purchasing their supplies over this week before the Easter weekend.
We often speak to people who say they think the amount of packaging on products is out of control and needs to be reduced. Easter eggs are one of those items where the amount of cardboard and plastic seems far greater than what it’s protecting so we headed to the local shops to identify our favourites in the packaging-less league.
When it comes to minimal packaging, the foil-covered egg probably tops the bill. With only a foil wrapper around it, Cadbury’s continue their pledge to reduce the amount of packaging required for the product.
This tasty-looking chocolate bunny from M&S is covered in a moulded plastic packaging that protects it. There wasn’t much packaging relative to the size of the bunny but it was certainly considerably less than many other over-packaged examples. The only other decoration on it was a ribbon and a card around its neck which could both be reused or recycled. From a re-use perspective, the rabbit shaped mould would make for a nice art and craft project or even be used to create your own chocolate bunny at home.
If you are one of those individuals who prefer a little more chocolate bang for your buck, then the bigger versions of chocolate bars are a much better option. By choosing to buy the bigger version of a standard bar, you can usually save yourself a bit more money and get a lot more chocolate in the process.
Maybe this year, you can opt for something a little less traditional and go with something other than the egg-shaped chocolate. There are many other ideas available in the shops – including these chocolate monkeys from Asda.
Packaging – has there been a change?
According to a WRAP study, 100 million Easter eggs are sold annually in the UK which produces an estimated 3000 tonnes of waste. Since an annual survey done by MP Jo Swinson found that only 38% of Easter egg boxes was taken up by chocolate, manufacturers are working to reduce the amount of packaging.
The amount of packaging around chocolate eggs has reduced over the last few years and companies selling them have faced a lot of consumer pressure to reduce the amount of unrecyclable packaging around their eggs. Most of the packaging seen nowadays is mainly cardboard and compared to previous years, is now more widely recyclable in the majority of areas. The plastic packaging is also more widely able to be recycled but there is still some way to go.
Supermarket shelves, for instance, seem to hold more stock than ever. This most likely works in their favour as they will have less restocking issues throughout the day and from an efficiency standpoint, could help in areas ranging from stock transport to more staff being available in other areas of the store e.g. tills.
In order to counteract the issue of packaging waste, Sainsbury’s are trialling a dedicated recycling facility in 50 of their stores with a view to a national rollout in 2015. If other retailers follow suit, this could certainly put a dent into the number of materials being sent to landfill. Providing they are not ripped open by youthful (or not so youthful) exuberance, the boxes can certainly be reused as gift packaging for a birthday or used to store other items.
Are things getting better?
In 2009 59% of adults felt Easter Eggs were over-packaged – how do you feel about eggs now? While there could still be improvements, the situation has certainly improved. If you see any Easter chocolate goodies that you think are over-packaged, then tweet us your pictures @WestLondonWaste or West London Waste on Facebook.
If you want to give a different Easter gift, you could give chocolate bars – perfect for chocoholics with lots more chocolate and very little packaging, or maybe give a book or a gift voucher. In fact, why not get some egg moulds and make your own Easter eggs. Here is a video from Lakeland that shows you how to make your own chocolate eggs this Easter.
For more gift ideas with no packaging check out our alternative gifts page.