So which Easter custom got here first? The packaging or the egg? The reply is after all not that shocking (it’s the egg). The custom of giving individuals eggs at spring time has roots in historic pagan festivals and exists within the historical past of a spread of religions.
It is just in latest many years that the quantity of packaging round a hole chocolate egg has develop into a noticeable drawback – partly due to an increase within the variety of eggs bought. It’s true that some manufactures have made progress in decreasing packaging, with an enormous deal with decreasing plastics. Many in style eggs are wrapped in only a layer of foil and a card field (plus any wrappers that come on accompanying confectionery). However this doesn’t imply the issue has gone away.
A report by Which? revealed that round 1 / 4 of the overall weight of Easter eggs bought within the UK is taken up by the plastic and cardboard packaging they’re wrapped up in. The outer packaging of one of many high 10 promoting manufacturers tipped the scales at 152g of a 418g product (36.four per cent).
In accordance with the environmental charity Mates of the Earth, Easter egg makers are nonetheless failing with regards to plastic waste. This results in some 3,000 tons of packaging waste every year. However it’s too straightforward responsible the producer – in any case, we purchase the eggs.
And the packaging does play some function in defending the chocolate from injury and contamination – in any other case it’s possible you’ll find yourself with meals waste (which is definitely far worse).
We look like at a stalemate – manufactures don’t need to change the massive, vivid packaging in concern of shedding gross sales. Prospects nonetheless need to current their pal or relative with a pristine, enticing, conventional reward.
Breaking with custom
So how can meals suppliers and shoppers assist to cut back packaging waste? Listed here are a number of choices (though some is probably not so candy).
Make the eggs flat. A two-dimensional egg might be packaged much more simply and is much less susceptible to break than a 3D egg which requires further packaging to guard these skinny chocolate partitions round a hole area. Flat eggs could possibly be made simply as enticing and will surely style the identical. They’d additionally enhance logistics effectivity by not having to move a lot air.
“Construct your personal” Easter egg kits – packs may embody every part you have to produce a bespoke egg (together with two egg halves) for the one you love. There can be no want for plastic packaging and you’ll be giving a personalised, hand-crafted reward.
Go for cardboard and gadgets wrapped in packaging that may be recycled – corresponding to cardboard and foil. Usually, it’s the extra luxurious manufacturers which need to exhibit their extravagant produce in-store that nonetheless use giant quantities of plastic.
Keep away from getting drawn in by the extra gadgets or “presents” that will include eggs. These are the type of presents that no one actually desires, corresponding to a low-quality mug or plastic toy – and the damaging environmental affect of manufacturing these could possibly be a lot better than that of the chocolate egg and packaging mixed. And you’ll pay a premium for them.
Ignore chocolate this Easter and go for one thing extra significant. No matter your faith (or lack of), Easter is about new life, not new waistlines. Bake or make one thing (egg formed in the event you like) that your loved ones will actually like and can imply far more to them than manufactured chocolate. And which the planet will thanks for too.
Whichever manner you select to chop down on packaging this Easter, keep in mind that this is only one of some ways you possibly can scale back your family waste. The world it appears is within the midst of a packaging disaster. Collectively we are able to (ahem) crack it.
Elliot Woolley is a lecturer in sustainable manufacturing at Loughborough College. This text first appeared on The Dialog (theconversation.com)