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Cracking the Easter egg-cess packaging problem

Excess packaging is a bugbear for many of you – so, to avoid mountains of plastic this Easter, you’ll need to be choosy about which chocolate eggs you buy. That’s if you’re actually worried about egg-cess packaging?

I don’t know what the Easter equivalent of Scrooge is, but I feel a little like one for raising this topic. What’s not to like about a chocolate treat done up in attractive packaging? It brings out the kid in all of us.

I can still remember the truck-shaped Yorkie Easter egg packaging from my childhood. The combination of truck, cardboard and chocolate clearly blew my tiny 1980s mind.

Posh packs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be

But the modern equivalent of such excess packaging seems indulgent when the race for the planet’s resources is more intense than ever.

Plus, when you find out that 62% of Easter eggs on sale this year is just packaging, according to research by MP Jo Swinson, you’ve got to ask whether it’s worth all that fancy card, plastic and foil.

Easter eggs can manage without much packaging anyway. Apparently, Cadbury’s boxless Easter eggs are no more prone to breaking than boxed ones. And people are still eating them, with sales up by 75% since 2008.

Hatching a plan for less packaging

MP Jo Swinson has been looking at Easter egg packaging since 2007. And this year she found that the amount of packaging has remained static since last year. Some brands are doing well, with Cadbury’s, Mars and Nestlé using less plastic than they used to. But Bailey’s, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Thorntons are still using lots of plastic.

Of course, it’s not just about the amount of packaging, but also the type of packaging. It’s still difficult to recycle plastic, and though some councils are improving, it would be better if Easter egg manufacturers didn’t give us the problem in the first place.

So, are you happy with just a bit of foil around your Easter egg? Or do you hanker for something a bit swankier for your Easter treat?

What do you think about excess Easter egg packaging?

I steer clear of excess packaging when buying my eggs (41%, 152 Votes)

I don't buy or eat Easter eggs (41%, 152 Votes)

The packaging’s part of the Easter egg experience (17%, 64 Votes)

Total Voters: 371

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Comments
Member

The amount of packaging wouldn’t be so much of an issue to me, if the actually eggs weren’t almost wafer thin. At least you can recycle most of the packaging ( my council still cant do plastic ).

Member
Winterburn says:
27 March 2012

Easter Eggs, I loved as a lad when they were just packaged in silver paper, and they never got broken as I remember, today they are boxed, rapped, and put them in glittery paper, but what the difference from when I was a lad as you can only eat egg, so why don’t they just do same as when I was a lad, do away with extra trimming as that only makes them cost more, and makes them more expensive for the end user, not only that think of the forest that could be saved if ALL over packageing was done away with.

Member
Claire says:
28 March 2012

There are some Easter eggs this year that have no plastic at all and are just cardboard which can easily be recycled. These are main brand eggs so we don’t have to buy some obscure brand to avoid the excessive packaging.

Member
Linda says:
4 April 2012

62% of the weight of an egg is packaging? More than half? I find this impossible to believe. Are the data available somewhere?

Member
simon says:
4 April 2012

Linda. Jo Swinsons report has all the detail on packaging, and the weight figure is true.
The Egg that came out the best was the Eco Egg from Montezuma.

Member
Linda says:
4 April 2012

Simon. No, that is for volume, not weight, of packaging. If you look at the table on page 15 of the report (http://joswinson.org.uk/en/page/jo-swinson-s-2012-easter-egg-packaging-annual-progress-report) you can see both weight and volume percentages. The average % weight of edible contents to total weight is 76. The average % of volume of egg to packaging is 38.5

Member

Hi Linda,

When we researched supermarket packaging last year, we found some items with much worse ratios – both Easter eggs and other things. Have a look at https://conversation.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/excess-supermarket-packaging-investigation/

Member
Linda says:
4 April 2012

Aha! The Jo Swinson article states, “This year’s Easter egg report found that box efficiency in terms of volume has remained stagnant at 38%”.
VOLUME. Not weight. You said “weight” in April’s Which? magazine (page 4): “… on average, packaging makes up around 62% of the weight of all Easter eggs on sale this year.”
Volume I can easily believe; weight less so as chocolate is much more dense than cardboard and plastic, which is what made me question the statement in the first place.

I trust you will print a correction in May. 😉

Member

Hi again Linda,

Sorry – this is a mistake in the magazine, which we’ve corrected where we can – but obviously the copies of the mag out there with members will be wrong.

You’re right, the figure is indeed about volume and not weight.

Just thinking about packaging though, Jo Swinson’s finding that the volume taken up by chocolate is static is disappointing – progress by the industry seems to have halted, at least for the moment.

It’s why I find it so interesting that Cadbury’s sales for boxless eggs are still strong (static, but in a reduced sales market last year thanks to a warm Easter) and its damage rates for them are the same as for its boxed eggs. So it – big cuts in packaging – can be done.