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20 Mar 2018

The truth about Easter egg packaging

Find out which chocolate egg has the most rubbish this Easter

Packaging makes up an average 25% of the total weight of the bestselling Easter eggs, a Which? investigation has found.

We compared the top 10 bestselling branded Easter eggs, weighing their packaging, so you can make a choice about which chocs leave you with the least cardboard and plastic to dispose of this holiday.

Best and worst Easter eggs for packaging

Thornton's Classic Large Egg uses the most packaging compared with the other top 10 bestselling branded Easter eggs. The packaging of this egg makes up 36.4% of the total weight.

The egg with the least packaging of the 10 we investigated was the Cadbury Twirl Large Easter Egg. This egg's packaging made up just 18.8% of the total weight. Packaged almost entirely in cardboard - most of it can be recycled. Only the two chocolate bar wrappers, which weigh less than a gram together, can't head to the recycling bin.

Find out where your favourite fares in our packaging ranking below:

The good news about Easter egg packaging

A few years ago chocolate eggs made headlines for the shocking addition they made to landfill at Easter time. But manufacturers have made amends since then.

Almost all of the packaging we looked at in this investigation could be recycled. From plastic to cardboard, the majority of what you rip off to get your hands on the chocolate can be collected by recycling workers as part of the kerbside collection service. The only things that couldn't be recycled were chocolate bar wrappers and plastic windows.

The plastic that comes with Easter eggs is usually PET 1, the same type of plastic that bottles are made of. This can easily be recycled by 99% of local authorities, so add this to your recycling pile.

Foil is also recyclable. Recycle Now, the national recycling campaign for England, recommends cleaning it and scrunching it up into a ball. The bigger the foil ball the easier it is to recycle. One reason to stop you feeling so guilty if you've been a bit gluttonous with your egg consumption.

For more advice on recycling and what you can and can't recycle, head over to Recycle Now's website.

Our research

We selected the top 10 branded Easter eggs that take up the biggest share of the Easter chocolate egg market to create a snapshot of what is going on with packaging. The list included Thornton's Classic Large Easter egg 258g, Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Easter Egg with truffles 215g, Cadbury Creme Giant Egg 496g, Mars Milk Chocolate Easter Egg and Chocolate Bar 141g, Cadbury Mini Eggs Extra Large Easter Egg 286g, Cadbury Dairy Milk Extra Large Easter Egg 515g, Galaxy Milk Chocolate Indulgent Collection Easter Egg 308g, Malteasers Large Teasers Easter Egg 248g, Cadbury Wispa Large Easter Egg 269g and Cadbury Twirl Large Easter Egg 282g.

To find out how the chocolate and packaging compared, we weighed all of the Easter eggs in their packaging. We then weighed them unwrapped out of their packaging and finally weighed the packaging on its own. To make sure we were getting accurate results, we unwrapped individual chocolates so only the chocolate was weighed.

We then worked out what could and couldn't be recycled, and how the weight of the packaging compared with the weight of the chocolate and the overall weight of the item.

Watch our video to see Easter egg testing in action: