Are you all ready for Easter? The TV is full of adverts for chocolate eggs, chocolate eggs and if it’s possible more chocolate eggs. But while Easter Monday will find most of us half comatose on the sofa, there is a serious downside to all this frivolity (sorry, chocolate killjoy). As with any excess, what quickly follows is a copious amount of waste. If this waste isn’t disposed of correctly it poses a danger to the environment, our wildlife and us.
In the UK we buy more than 80 million Easter eggs each year. With children racking up on average 8 eggs we quickly generate tonnes of waste. All of these products will most likely be heavily over-packaged, containing sweets in plastic, foil wrapping and lastly put into a shiny non-biodegradable cardboard boxes to make sure the retailers aren’t squashing the prized contents and to tempt the public into purchasing.
But you can buy wise – choose Easter eggs which have less packaging and be aware of what that packaging is made of – is it recyclable? Even the big name supermarkets are getting in on the act – Sainsbury’s have set up in-store Easter packaging recycling so you can return your ‘empties’ to the store. Sainsbury’s say ‘it’s a great way of reminding people to recycle’ (source: The Grocer).
One of the best ways to be environmentally friendly this Easter is to simply make your own eggs and decorations. The German tradition of Ostereierbaum or Easter egg trees is a colourful and creative way to get your children involved. You can use cooled, boiled or hollow eggs (remember from school the pin and the egg blowing?!) and get the whole family involved in creating a beautiful tree filled with bright eggs. You can also get to work in the kitchen and whip up some childhood favourites of chocolate nests, which easily store in the fridge and may even last longer than Good Friday. Your computer is full of both money saving and environmentally friendly ideas this Easter, just get searching online or look for local group activities! Perhaps follow all the eggstra activity with a Cadburys Crème Egg – one of the best options as the packaging counts for only 6% of the product.
There have been steps over the years to reduce the amount of waste we create at Easter. In 2006 WRAP – the Waste and Resources Action Programme along with the leading confectionery brands set up the SWCG (Seasonal Confectionery Working Group) to try and identify ways to promote a reduction in packaging. By 2009 there were marked results with many of the retailers drastically increasing the percentage of recyclable packaging they use. This group continues to work on packaging focusing particularly on seasonal goods.
So be wise this Easter and after you’ve worked your way through all those chocolate eggs, bunnies and roast dinners (hungry yet?) make sure you dispose of the packaging in the best way. No one wants to see the Easter bunny at the vets thanks to waste we could easily have popped in the orange bin.
From all of us at Pure Planet Recycling we wish you a very Happy Easter Bank Holiday.