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Dublin: 18 °C Monday 28 July, 2014

Easter (chocolate) by numbers

As we consume about 9.5 million Easter eggs over the next few days, Repak has asked us to keep recycling in mind.

Four-year-old Jack Ross from Dublin at the Dylan Hotel last month.
Four-year-old Jack Ross from Dublin at the Dylan Hotel last month.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

AS LENTEN PROMISES come to an end and Easter Sunday is celebrated by chocolate lovers up and down the country, Irish people are expected to feast on over 9.5 million Easter eggs.

The massive chocolate egg market in Ireland is worth between €24 million and €28 million.

But with the delicious confectionery comes 500 tonnes of waste, warns recycling agency Repak.

Over the entire weekend (and including all forms of used packaging), 32,000 tonnes of waster will be generated. Put into a timely context, that equates to nearly 70 per cent of the weight of the Titanic, added Repak.

To encourage consumers to help them beat its recycling record for Easter, Repak also let us know the following fascinating facts and figures:

  • Repak’s target for recycled household packaging during this Easter weekend is 15-16,000 tonnes.
  • If the target is reached, Repak could save the equivalent of 17,000 tonnes of carbon – which would be the same as removing 9,800 cars from the roads every year.
  • However, Easter packaging will only account for less than 2 per cent of all packaging consumed over the Easter period.
  • One thousand tonnes of chocolate goes into making the 9.5 million eggs expected to be sold in Ireland.
  • The average person will eat 2.13 eggs over the Easter period.
  • However, some research indicated that the average shopper buys EIGHT eggs.
  • The same study also showed that 69 per cent of Irish households purchase some Easter confectionery.
  • That means that Irish people will consume enough calories to allow one runner do over 2.6 million marathons.
  • We generate the equivalent of 73 jumbo jets in cardboard each Easter.
  • And it’s not just chocolate we’re consuming, enough wine to fill 204,000 baths (6.5 million litres) and beer to fill over six Olympic-sized swimming pools (15 million litres) will also be drank.
  • Ireland currently recovers 152kgs per capital of packaging waster, the 3rd highest in Europe.
  • Manufacturers have reduced the amount of packaging on Easter eggs by more than 25 per cent over the last three years and increased the recyclability of their egg packaging.

This year, Nestlé – the maker of Yorkie and KitKat chocolate bars – has packaged its entire Easter egg collection in recyclable materials.

The company said the move to eliminate plastic is a culmination of a six-year process. It claims that it has saved 726 tonnes of plastic waste going to landfill per year.

Recyclable cardboard and compostable film is now being used instead of the plastic. The weight of packaging has also been reduced by up to 50 per cent.

Mars have introduced a Recycle Bunny on their Easter eggs which contain step by step recycling panels. Every plastic tray in Mars products is made from recyclable PET plastic.

Cadbury’s produced a Treasure Egg range which is simply wrapped in foil, with no plastic or cardboard at all.

Repak also provided some handy tips for those who want to recycle more this Easter:

  1. Most Easter egg moulded plastic is PET denoted by a triangle with the number 1 inside. This can go into most plastic bottle collection systems.
  2. Aluminium foil which Easter eggs are wrapped in is recyclable. Just fold its up and place in the dry recyclable household collection bin.
  3. The Recyclemore App on iPhone and Android  or www.recyclemore.ie finds the nearest recycling facility in your area and also advises what materials they accept.
  4. When choosing what eggs to buy, consider how much packaging they use.

Enjoy the feast!

Reduction in waste from Irish homes>

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