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Chocolate disappears, but packaging lasts forever

April 10, 2009

What do You Think?


Hands up if you ever think about the environmental impact of eating chocolate Easter eggs.


Anyone? No one? Don’t worry, me neither. Pass me my big aluminium-wrapped chocolate bunny already, please.


But this article in the Guardian made me think about the actual cost of buying those yummy chocolate Easter eggs: more junk on her landfills. Think packaging. Boxes, ribbons and tin foil galore pile up on our landfills after this one day of chocolate decadence.


Apparently in the UK, people do think about what their Easter goodies to the environment, and the best part is that some candy companies listened!


According to the article, Marks & Spencer claims it reduced its Easter packaging by 30%, Cadbury by 25% and Nestle saved 700 tonnes of packaging by replacing plastic with cardboard. Overall the UK candy industry claims it has used 25% less packaging this year than last year!


But what about in Hong Kong? Last week the Young Post team were forced to sample six different chocolate Easter eggs (terrible job, isn’t itJ). You can check out the story here.


My personal favourite by a long shot were the Lindt Gold Bunny eggs. The chocolate was creamy, milky, not too sweet. Heavenly.


But in terms of packaging Lindt gets the lowest marks. Its box was probably twice the size of the actual chocolate, which was wrapped in tin foil AND a bulky piece of plastic. Wow—3 layers to protect a piece of chocolate? All that packaging couldn’t even fit in my office trash bin! Oops.


On the other hand, the treats from Marks & Spencer and Maxim’s were much more modest. Both were wrapped in colourful tin foil and a slim, plastic bag.


No, it’s not completely biodegradable wrapping (the plastic will still sit in our landfills forever) but of all the eggs, it’s still the lesser evil.


Perhaps next year we’ll have chocolate-wrapped chocolate—100% edible, 100% environmentally friendly!


Hope I haven’t ruined your appetites for chocolate Easter eggs, but I just want everyone to think twice when you hit the candy shelves.


Happy Easter!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rachael permalink
    June 19, 2009 7:26 am

    I have never thought about it but now that I do I realize that candy wrappers not just Easter eggs have a huge impact on the evironment. and with all the things we can do these days there are many ways to not have to use so much wrapping. This is definetly and issue that needs to be brought to attention.

  2. Sophia permalink
    May 9, 2009 7:47 am

    Chocalate eggs r really yummy, but i agree with the wrapper thing. it’s probably going 2 be really hard to solve this

  3. Susan Ramsay permalink
    April 22, 2009 4:12 pm

    Ahem… As a hobby chocolate maker – as well my staff members know – I can tell you that wrapping chocs is not easy!
    It’s not like you can twist em up in a bit of paper and toss em in the post. Chocolates are delicate jewels. There are all sorts of things you need to consider.
    When chocolate is made it has to go through a special process called “tempering”. This has to do with controlling the way the chocolate crystals are formed when the chocolate becomes solid, so that the chocolate has a high glossy sheen to it, and gives off a pleasant “crack” when you bite into it. If the chocolate gets rewarmed and cooled – as is so easy in Hong Kong, it loses its temper – literally. So you have to be really careful about how it’s packaged.
    First of all you need to think about hygiene and shelf life. You don’t want your chocs contaminated by outside dirt, and you want to keep them in as dry conditions as possible.
    See, chocolate and water are not friends. So chocolate that has sweatted in humid climes just looks like it’s bad.
    Second, you need to protect the shape during shipping and handling. No one wants to get mooshy bashed up bunnies. This means the protection has to come in somewhere. The bigger the egg, the more easily it breaks. The stranger the shape, the more easily it breaks. It’s one thing to pack little regular shaped eggs together but bunnies and ducks are like trying to load animals into an ark. A solution to this is a custom made package that keeps the eggs separate.
    Then you have to compete on the shelf. If you’ve made the Easter pilgrimage to view the chocs on the supermarket shelves you will see that your packaging has to be something special to attract the eye.
    In defence of Lindt – their chocolate is particularly pure and highly refined. That’s why you get that silky smooth “mouthfeel” Sara liked so much. Me, I like my chocs a little more bitter and rough. But all that milky refinement means a lower melting point and more fragile goods.

  4. Elaine permalink
    April 14, 2009 1:50 pm

    I like to eat chocolate egg!

  5. NatChu NCC permalink
    April 13, 2009 10:47 pm

    I do agree that we should think twice when we hit the candy shelves. It is so common to see boxes of chocolates which are really over wrapped especially during the Easter holiday. I think the companies mainly over wrapped the chocolates with colorful wrapping papers in order to attract the customers so as to raise the selling rate and of course maximize their profits. So, we as a customer should not encourage the companies to over wrapped the chocolates by buying the ones which are much more modest. Like the Marks & Spencer and Cadbury ones.
    As a human being, I think it is all our responsibility to be environmentally friendly and to protect our world so as to fulfill our social resposibility while we are having our happy Easter!

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