mini chocolate Easter eggs.
Facts about waste at Easter

Easter Waste Facts

Easter is a time for feasting and celebrating the end of Lent. Often this involves indulging in those guilty pleasures you’ve avoided for 40 days – usually chocolate and other sweet and fatty foods. Many people also make the most of the long weekend thanks to a couple of bank holidays.

In the UK we spend more than £960 million over Easter, mainly on food and drink. Like most celebrations, the festivities create plenty of waste. So much that recycling every piece of Easter egg packaging in the UK could save 1,170,000kWh of energy – enough to boil more than 180,000 eggs.

Chocolate eggs and all their packaging are one of the main causes of excess waste at Easter but other ways we celebrate the festival also generate rubbish. Eggsplore some cracking facts about Easter waste that will put a real spring in your step to improve the recycling efforts in your home or business over the holiday period.

UK Easter waste facts

Around 80 million Easter eggs are bought in the UK every year. If they were all eaten and the packaging recycled then there wouldn’t be a problem, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. And it’s not just chocolate eggs that lead to excess waste in spring. Some further facts about Easter waste are:

  • Easter creates more than 9,600 tonnes of cardboard waste in total (including Easter cards, egg boxes, and other packaging).
  • Around 10 million Easter cards are sent in the UK, making more card waste.
  • More than 4,000 tonnes of plastic waste are produced at Easter (mostly from packaging).
  • Over 7,500 miles of wrapping paper are used for Easter gifts.

Easte food waste facts

It’s not just Easter eggs that are scoffed in spring. Roast lamb, hot cross buns, and fish on Good Friday are other traditional foods eaten over the Easter break. Most of this is devoured but unfortunately, the UK creates almost 8,500 tonnes of food waste at Easter in total. This includes:

  • 8 million hot cross buns wasted
  • 5 million slices of leftover roast meat
  • 19 million leftover potatoes 
  • 20 million leftover portions of vegetables
Read more food waste facts

Easter egg waste 
facts and statistics

If all the Easter eggs bought in the UK were laid out in a line it would stretch the entire length of The Great Wall of China. But what about all those Easter eggs that go to waste? There are a lot fewer, but they could still cover Hadrian’s Wall two and a half times.

Then there’s all the packaging waste they produce. These less than eggcellent facts about Easter eggs and the waste they create will soon see you spring into action to recycle rubbish:

  • Despite being delicious, about 8 million Easter eggs are uneaten and discarded as food waste.
  • A quarter of an Easter egg’s weight is the packaging – normally made from cardboard, plastic, and foil.
  • Easter egg packaging creates more than 8,000 tonnes of waste in the UK each year.
  • Easter eggs generate around 4,300 tonnes of card waste from the boxes and other packaging.
  • Around 160 tonnes of foil packaging are used in Easter eggs to protect the chocolate.
  • In terms of volume, chocolate eggs only take up 38% of an Easter egg box – the rest is packaging and space.
  • Packaging of the average 200g Easter egg uses 54 grams of card and 2 grams of foil.
chocolate eggs in foil packaging in bowl.

Easter egg facts

Easter eggs weren’t originally chocolate, the first chocolate Easter eggs were produced in the UK by J.S. Fry and Sons in 1873. Since then the tradition has taken off and we spend nearly half a billion pounds on them every year. Here are a few general stats and facts about Easter eggs:

  • Between 80 and 90 million Easter eggs are sold in the UK every year.
  • UK consumers spend more than £400 million on Easter eggs annually.
  • Buying Easter Eggs in the UK accounts for 10% of the nation’s spending on chocolate annually.
  • On average children receive over 8 Easter eggs every year.
  • The average price of an Easter egg is £5.72 – though it depends on the size and brand.

Easter waste guides

Find out more about how much waste we create at Easter and ways to celebrate sustainably this year in our expert guides that cover Easter waste:

Easter waste
  • How to Have a Low Waste Easter

    Use these Easter recycling tips, facts, and ideas for a sustainable holiday. Find out how to have a low waste Easter at home and work in this guide.

  • Recycling Easter Egg Packaging – is it Easy?

    The UK buys between 80 and 90 million Easter eggs every year in all sorts of packaging. Find out how easy recycling Easter egg packaging is in this guide.

    packaging waste
  • Planning Tips to Manage Waste at Easter

    Bin collections for homes and businesses often change over the Easter weekend. Plan properly to avoid disruption and your bins overflowing with these tips.

    organic waste
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