Easter is the biggest chocolate-selling event of the year after Christmas. We eat more chocolate per head in the UK than almost anywhere else in the world. Luckily for the chocoholics, consumption isn’t the problem, it’s the waste produced during this holiday every year. Wrap, the Government’s waste advisory unit, calculated that we discard about 3000 tonnes of packaging every Easter, which is equivalent to the weight of 1000 elephants. The campaign against Easter egg packaging is not a new one. This has been going on since it became socially unegg-ceptable for me to partake in Easter egg hunts.
The biggest problem-plastic is the moulded “vacuum form” that sometimes surrounds the entire egg. I appreciate that this is to ‘protect the egg’. However, surely this should be made recyclable, be made from recycled plastic, or maybe just not be made from plastic at all! Why does it always have to be plastic? They should shove a picture of the plastic’s journey after Easter in the centre of the egg to brighten up our holiday weekend. Too much. I know.
We need to stop being so chic during Easter. Part of the problem is that we feel the need to examine the egg before we buy it. I’m unsure if this is because we are so sceptical of the big Easter conglomerates that we don’t actually trust they’ve put our egg in its rightful box, or whether… nope, that’s all I got. We are illogically drawn to big packing, which is really sad, and is causing companies to go bigger and bolder every year just to grab our attention, in what The Independent calls a 'confectionery arms race'. And it isn't only the plastic casing. Sadly, nowhere is safe this Easter: incognito plastic can also exist in the cardboard of the egg packaging. However, this can easily be tested by soaking it in water and trying to scrunch it up, or, more simply, just by checking the label.
The big Easter conglomerates are thankfully not as bad as I claim. Some of them do make an effort towards recyclability. Nestle has been fab and, in 2012, the company made its full range 100% recyclable. The managing director of Nestle Confectionery UK and Ireland has stated that the company considers the environmental impact of packaging as an integral part of its product design. Thank you, Nestle! They have moved onto bigger things now like cutting down their overall carbon footprint. Cadburys is also deserving of some praise for releasing their unboxed eco-egg range years ago, before it was cool. Aluminium, which Cadburys eggs are wrapped in, is very eco-friendly, as it is recyclable. It also takes 95% less energy to make new aluminium from old aluminium than it does to make it from scratch. You can read about all the best eco-friendly chocolate treats to buy here. Egg-cellent.
MPs are saying that companies are not doing enough to cut their packaging, and the hard truth is that it is our consumer culture that drastically needs to change. So why wait for the big companies? It is so much easier for us to stop buying over-packaged food than it is for us to convince big companies to stop being so environmentally neglectful. Take inspiration from this 'plastic attack' at a Tesco near Bath, where shoppers left all of the unnecessary plastic from their items in store. All it takes is for you to stick it to the man this Easter. Buy the least flashy egg you can or at least recycle the darn packaging.