Swinson slams eggs-ess packaging (geddit?)

by Stephen Tall on April 10, 2009

As you prepare to devour your innocent-looking Easter eggs this holiday weekend, bear in mind this piece of research by Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson: Easter eggs only take up 40% of their packaging, and remain one of the most wasteful products on supermarket shelves. You can read the BBC news report detailing Jo’s investigations HERE.

Jo comments:

While it is encouraging that the amount of packaging used for Easter eggs has gone down, they remain one of the most excessively packaged and wasteful products available. On average the Easter eggs still take up only 40% of their packaging, so there is still more that can be done to reduce it even more. It is also important to make sure not just that packaging is reduced, but that it is recyclable and that is made clear to consumers. The progress that has been made in the past year is encouraging, but manufacturers must go much further.”

Jo’s press release has a number of detailed and fascinating notes to editors – see below – such that I can’t help wondering if her research was assisted by the party’s Head of Innovations, LDV’s own chocophile Mark Pack, in the non-packaging portions of the Easter eggs they sampled.

Jo’s Notes to Editors

1. Lindt has maintained its title for a third year running as the company whose packaging is the most excessive, with an Easter egg which takes up only 9% of the volume of the packaging. While Marks & Spencer have reduced their packaging by removing cardboard, they have replaced it with plastic wrapping which is not recyclable, thereby increasing landfill waste.

2. The manufacturer who showed the most improvement on last year was Nestlé, and the one who showed least improvement was Terry’s, whose packaging has actually increased since 2008.

3. Sainsbury’s, Terry’s, Cadbury and Green & Black’s eggs all produce no landfill waste.

4. Companies have reduced the weight of their Easter egg packaging by an average of 33.5% compared to last year. Nestlé and Green & Black’s have all taken the initiative of removing all plastic from their packaging and replacing it with cardboard, which is more widely recycled. They have also redesigned their boxes creatively to use less cardboard, moving away from the standard cuboid box.

5. The average total weight of packaging for an Easter egg was 84g in 2007 and 82.6g in 2008, but shrunk to 45.7g this year. Considerable improvements have also been made in the amount and detail of environmental information included on Easter egg packaging. Several companies advertise their packaging reductions prominently in their marketing campaigns, suggesting they believe this is important to consumers.

For a full copy of Jo Swinson’s Easter egg packaging report, please click here.