DS Smith expects Brits to spend heavily on Easter eggs with recycling still a concern

New research has revealed that despite 69% of Brits believing that Easter eggs come in excessive packaging, they plan to purchase over 156 million of these seasonal chocolate treats this year.

The poll, commissioned by DS Smith, found that almost half (47%) of the population intends to buy three or more chocolate eggs this Easter. Their top priorities when choosing the treat are value for money (65%), taste (57%), and chocolate volume (43%). However, 20% of the respondents said they prefer fully recyclable packaging for the Easter eggs, as nearly four in five (79%) said they recycle at least one part of the box.

Some brands are trying to improve the recyclability of their Easter packaging, like chocolate maker Divine, which has launched a limited-edition Joyful Hot Cross Bun Bar and new Flat Eggs for Easter. The latter retains the same shape and size as a classic Easter egg but uses 40% less packaging.

The research also revealed that inconsistent recycling guidelines across the country are leading to confusion. One in five councils does not collect aluminium foil, and plastic recycling varies across the UK. Cardboard remains the only consistently collected packaging material.

The number of people who correctly dispose of their Easter egg packaging is quite low. Just over a third (37%) said they always recycle the foil they’re wrapped in, less than half (49%) do the same for plastic, and nearly two-thirds (64%) recycle cardboard.

Those who struggle to recycle blame a lack of recycling options for each element of the Easter egg packaging in their local area (41%), unclear recycling instructions (28%), or simply forgetting (22%). This confusion is part of a broader trend, as previous research by DS Smith has shown that, given the UK’s declining recycling rates, two in five paper and board packs will end up in landfill or incineration by 2030.

Samantha Upham, seasonal sustainability expert at DS Smith, said that Easter egg foil is the least-recycled Easter egg component despite being a vital part of the packaging waste generated from the back of Easter eggs. She recommends that people check their local council guidance to see if their council accepts foil for recycling. If it does, she advises scrunching all the foil into a ball to avoid losing small bits in the recycling process. Since the plastic used in Easter egg packaging is often the same as that used for drink bottles, most councils can recycle it.

With Brits expected to spend over £415m on Easter eggs in the UK each year, a significant number of cardboard boxes need to be recycled. Upham recommends collapsing the box to save space and prevent bins from overflowing, separating the plastic windows from the cardboard box, and removing any chocolate residue to ensure they are put in the correct bins.

Upham also advised against buying Easter cards with glitter, plastic, or electrical components, as they are difficult to recycle. She suggests separating the card from the decorative backing and recycling the part with no glitter if you already have some.

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