Efficient Sainsbury's Easter Packaging Lays an Egg on Recycling

London, United Kingdom — Easter egg packaging is getting lighter in the U.K., but there are clear leaders and laggards when it comes to packaging efficiency and recyclability.

Sainsbury's has the most efficiency-packaged Easter eggs this year, but they are also the least recyclable.

Most other major candy manufacturers and retailers in the U.K. have similar disparities with their Easter packaging, which is highlighted in Easter Egg Packaging: Annual Progress Report 2010.

The report is in it fourth year and is put together by Jo Swinson, Member of Parliament for East Dunbartonshire, who has been following Easter egg packaging, she says in the report, because "Easter eggs provide some of the worst examples of excess packaging that can be found on supermarket shelves."

The report looks at eggs from 12 companies and rates them based on how efficiently they are packaged (how much volume of the packaging the egg takes up) and how widely the packaging materials are recycled in the U.K.

Overall, the average egg took up 36 percent of the packaging volume. That's down from 39.8 percent in 2009, but still better than the 29.4 percent in 2008.

The average weight went down by about 4 percent this year, whereas in 2009 the average weight went down by one-third.

Sainsbury's took the top spot for efficiency, with an egg that takes up 60 percent of its box. But it also took the bottom spot for recyclability by using a plastic box that is not widely accepted in recycling programs.

Nestlé took the number-one spot for recyclability, with packaging that is 100 percent widely recycled. The company has eliminated 90 percent of the plastic it used to use from Easter packaging and also provides clear recycling information on the packaging itself.

Cadbury and Mars have removed all molded plastic from their Easter packaging, and while the packaging from Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Guylian and Green & Black's is all technically 100 percent recyclable, the plastic used is not widely recycled, according to Swinson.

Last place for efficiency went to Guylian, whose egg takes up 9 percent of its box. The company packages its chocolates in a plastic tray inside of a box that is inside of another box. Lindt is second-to-last, with eggs that take up 11 percent of the box and very little recycling information on the packaging.

The complete rankings are listed below.

Most Efficient Packaging

1. Sainsbury's
2. House of Commons
3. Green & Black's
4. Thornton's
5. Marks & Spencer
6. Tesco Finest
7. Nestle
8. Mars
9. Cadbury
10. Bailey's
11. Lindt
12. Guylian

Most Recyclable Packaging

1. Nestle
2. Mars
3. Green & Black's
4. Tesco Finest
5. House of Commons
6. Guylian
7. Cadbury
8. Bailey's
9. Thornton's
10. Lindt
11. Marks & Spencer
12. Sainsbury's

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