Easter is one of the bussiest times of year for waste operators.

Shelling out the facts on waste

Recycling starts in the home and this Easter Irish households are eggs-timated to have recycled upwards of 60,000 tonnes of chocolate-related packaging.

That’s according to new research carried out by environmental not-for-profit organisation Repak which examined the nation’s Easter spending habits as well the public’s awareness of what packaging can and can’t be recycled.

Since 2021, all plastics can go into the recycling bin, something 43% of those surveyed were still unaware of.

Easter eggs remain the gift of choice for 62% of people, but 35% said they planned to buy alternative gifts for others this year – up from 22% last year.

For the traditionalists, 44% of people planned to buy 5 or more eggs. 30% of people aimed for between 1 and 3, while almost a quarter (24%) set their sights between 3 and 5 eggs. When it comes to spending, 60% planned to spend the same as they did in previous years.

When it came to recycling, 88% admitted that suitable packaging was not the most important factor in deciding what Easter egg to buy. What was most important was the type of chocolate (51%), followed by the size of the egg (19%), and whether it comes with a gift like a branded mug or additional bars (17%).

Milk chocolate remains the most popular Easter egg on the shelves with 78% saying it’s their first choice, followed by white chocolate (18%), dark chocolate (17%) and plant-based or vegan (4%).

At the end of the day, Easter is all about spending time with loved ones, with 92% of people saying quality time spent with family is more important than receiving gifts, according to the research. However, it’s also a time for indulgence, with 74% saying healthy eating would take a back seat in favour of sweet treats.

Speaking in the lead up to Easter, Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak said: “While many of us are preparing to settle down to a relaxing long weekend and indulge in Easter eggs, waste operators across Ireland will be anticipating a heavy influx of packaging following Easter celebrations. By placing all recyclable items in the recycling bin clean, dry, and loose, we will be supporting their work."