Shoppers are being urged to choose Easter eggs with the minimum of packaging after research by Camden Friends of the Earth (FoE) found that plastic and cardboard makes up more than a third of the total weight of some products.
From a random sample, the group was particularly impressed by Sainsbury’s approach – the proportion of the egg’s packaging came to a total of only 11% of the total weight, less than half of the closest competitor Duchy Organics.
Sainsbury’s also scored well on its advice to consumers about recycling and, as the cellophane wrapping is plain, it can be reused again and again to wrap other gifts. Green and Blacks are the only supplier surveyed who specifically mention that the packaging they use is recycled board. Other suppliers such as Nestlé and Marks and Spencer do mention that their cardboard packaging is recyclable; but if they do not use recycled board for their products, the recycling process cannot be completed.
The worst offenders in terms of over-packaging were Green and Blacks and Marks and Spencer, both for their organic eggs. Over 35% of the total box weights were down to the packaging rather than the egg! Organic farming processes are beneficial to animals and the environment but some of these benefits can be undone by marketing decisions outside the farm gate.
Are consumers also willing to pay for the ‘luxuries’ of increased Council Tax and overflowing landfill sites to pay for the disposal of all this waste? Camden Council has recently cut recycling services in its estates to reduce costs, as waste disposal charges rise beyond inflation. And very soon they will be cutting the second weekly refuse collection to private householders. The UK’s landfill sites are under pressure and it is up to everyone to minimise the waste now going into them.