How your Easter treats come in 8,000 TONS of waste packaging

By PAUL SIMS and SEAN POULTER

Last updated at 23:34 20 March 2008


An extra 8,000 tons of waste will be created this Easter by overpackaged chocolate eggs, it was claimed yesterday.

As many as 80million of the holiday treats are expected to be sold at a cost of £280million, generating 4,370 tons of card, 3,470 tons of plastic and 160 tons of foil.

The startling figures, compiled by the Local Government Association, come less than 12 months after manufacturers pledged to reduce the amount of card, plastic and foil on their eggs.

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Worst offender: Nestle has increased the amount of packaging it uses compared to a survey carried out last year

Despite promising a 5 per cent reduction by 2010, an investigation found no noticeable change.

Some eggs are so over-wrapped that the chocolate inside makes up less than 10 per cent of the volume of their wrapping.

Nestle and Cadbury's are among the worst offenders.

LibDem MP Jo Swinson, who is campaigning against excess packaging in stores, believes manufacturers could be flouting laws which say packaging should be the minimum needed for safety, hygiene and acceptance for the consumer.

Manufacturers are rarely prosecuted, with only four cases brought by Trading Standards to date.

Miss Swinson was particularly critical of a Kit-Kat egg from Nestle-a Dairy Milk egg from Cadbury and Lindt's luxury Lindor egg.

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"The eggs take up just 9 per cent of the volume of the packaging and the Nestle egg has actually increased the amount of packaging used compared to a survey I carried out last year," she said.

"The Government must take the initiative and force supermarkets and producers to stop this wasteful, unnecessary use of resources."

Paul Bettison, of the Local Government Association, said: "Families do their best to recycle more, but their efforts are being hamstrung over Easter by excessive packaging.

"Councils and council tax payers face fines of up to £3billion if we do not dramatically reduce the amount of waste thrown into landfill."

Nestle said: "We are totally committed to reducing packaging waste and encouraging recycling. Nestle has made substantial reductions in its Easter egg packaging."

Cadbury's said it had made great efforts to reduce packaging and was now offering "eco-eggs" sold in a foil wrapping rather than a box.

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