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Easter is fast approaching, and just like any holiday, it's a time for family gatherings, comfort foods, and indulging in plenty of chocolate. That's how I spend every Easter, at least.Growing up, I never gave a thought to what it takes to package all my candy indulges, but over in the UK, some believe Easter egg-makers have a not-so-sweet packaging problem.

Heather Caliendo

March 29, 2012

3 Min Read
Hopping mad: Easter egg packaging under fire in the UK

Easter is fast approaching, and just like any holiday, it's a time for family gatherings, comfort foods, and indulging in plenty of chocolate. That's how I spend every Easter, at least.

Growing up, I never gave a thought to what it takes to package all my candy indulges, but over in the UK, some believe Easter egg-makers have a not-so-sweet packaging problem.

img_1905822.jpgJo Swinson, a UK politician, said chocolate Easter egg manufacturers are contributing to vast amounts of plastic waste produced during the holiday weekend.

Swinson, a long-standing campaigner against "excessive and wasteful" packaging, said commercially produced Easter eggs generate an estimated 3,000 tons of UK waste each year.

Swinson's report about Easter egg packaging found that, on average, only 38% of Easter egg boxes are taken up by chocolate, the rest is purely packaging.

Eleven eggs from different brands, including Mars, Nestlé, and Cadbury, as well as products from UK stores such as Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer, were weighed and measured according to the ratio of chocolate egg to packaging, and for recyclability, according to the report.

The report criticized some manufacturers for using plastic packaging that is not easily recyclable. Sainsbury's Taste the Difference egg contained incorrect information on the plastic packaging, which indicated that it is recyclable though it actually is not, the report said.

"A few manufacturers are hiding behind green credentials with packaging that isn't easily recyclable by the majority of consumers," Swinson stated. "Manufacturers know that their plastic boxes aren't widely recycled and yet they continue to use them, despite other companies showing how Easter eggs can be packaged with a mind to efficiency and recyclability."

As soon as the report was released, many candy egg-makers defended their practices. 800px-easter-eggs2.jpg

"M&S is committed to packaging reduction and has already met its Plan A target of reducing its packaging by 25%, a year ahead of plan," stated the M&S spokeswoman.

She went on to state, "This year we will use 6% less packaging on our Easter eggs than last year, 80% of our carton board is now from recycled or sustainable sources and 100% of the PET plastic we use is recyclable, too. Overall, 91% of all our food packaging is now recyclable."

The report did acknowledge some brands have taken steps to reduce packaging and use renewable materials. The Easter egg that was ranked highest for recyclability was Montezuma's Easter egg, which the report called, "an innovative design made of just two parts, a biodegradable outer shell and recyclable foil wrapping."

Just recently Nestle UK & Ireland announced it converted to 100% recyclable packaging on its Easter egg confectioneries by replacing rigid plastic with cardboard.

Nestlé said that the sustainable project, which removes all plastic packaging from all its eggs, took six years to complete, and that it is the first major confectioner to accomplish this task.

What do you think about the uproar about Easter egg candy packaging in the UK?

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