Crack down on waste this Easter

April 5, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Waste awareness groups across the UK are warning us not to forget the environment as we tuck into our Easter treats this year. We generate a staggering 4,500 tonnes of extra waste from the foil and card in Easter egg packaging, much of which ends up in landfill sites rather than being recycled.

A study by Friends of the Earth Scotland revealed that shoppers waste huge amounts of money on excessive packaging at Easter. One of the worst examples found was a 295g Easter egg costing £4.98, being sold alongside a 400g bar of the same chocolate priced at £2.18. That’s nearly 70% of the sale price going towards packaging the chocolate egg.

Aberdeen’s Waste Aware Team is running special sessions for shoppers to show them how to reduce their waste over Easter, while waste bosses in Wiltshire, South West England, urged consumers to make maximum use of local recycling facilities over the holiday. Waste Awareness Wales published top tips for reducing waste this Easter and Recycle Now suggested we think again about buying heavily packaged Easter gifts.

Here are a few ideas on how to reduce waste at Easter:

  • Go for homemade Easter treats instead of buying packaged ones from the shops. They’ll be cheaper and good fun for children to make. Chocolate cornflake nests are always a winner!
  • Traditional hand painted Easter eggs can make great gifts or table decorations. Make small holes in the top and bottom of an egg, carefully blow out the contents and allow the eggshell to dry before decorating it with paint, felt tip or fabric. Alternatively, hard boil eggs with food colouring before decorating them.
  • Send Easter greetings by email instead of using cards. Jimpix has beautiful photo-ecards and Cancer Research UK has animated Easter ecards.
  • If you’re cooking a big lunch for the family, make sure you compost fruit and vegetable peelings instead of throwing them in the bin.
  • Recycle any packaging you can. You may need to separate out the various components. Foil and cardboard can normally be recycled locally. Easter cards can be recycled, or used again in craft projects.
  • Fancy a low-calorie Easter? Why not ditch the chocolate and help nourish someone in the developing world instead? Oxfam Unwrapped and the Good Gifts Catalogue both offer a wide range of totally fat-free ethical gifts.

Animal welfare organisation Adoptahen are adding an extra twist to their hen-adoption programme this Easter by installing webcams in incubators. The eggs under the ‘hatchcam’ are due to hatch on Easter Sunday. All those who adopt a hen will be able to see the live action, as will those who sign up for special access over the Easter period.

There are also hundreds of green events and activities going on over the Easter break. The Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales, is putting on a special series of workshops, theatre, games and video shows designed to help children understand their impact on the earth. Easter egg hunts, craft sessions and spring walks are happening up and down the country. The National Trust, RSPB, English Heritage and local Wildlife Trusts all have Easter events listings on their websites.

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