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Ireland expected to recycle over 60,900 tonnes this Easter

Irish residents are expected to recycle over 60,900 tonnes of packaging waste this Easter. The weekend marks one of the busiest times of the year for waste recovery operators across the country.

New research* of 1,000 adults in Ireland was carried out by environmental not-for-profit organisation Repak, to examine the nation’s Easter spending habits as well as awareness of what packaging can be recycled. Since 2021, all plastics can go into the recycling bin, which research reveals 43% of those surveyed were still unaware of.

Chocolate comes out on top, but alternative gifts are on the rise 

Easter eggs remain the gift of choice for 62% of people, but 35% of people plan to buy alternative gifts for others this year – up from 22% last year**. Toys come out on top for those looking to buy alternative gifts (30%), followed by a card (23%), baked goods or other confectionery (21%), handmade gifts (17%), and a hamper (14%).

For the traditionalists, 32% of people plan to buy five or more eggs. 30% of people plan to buy between 1-3, while almost a quarter (24%) plan to buy between 3-5 eggs. When it comes to spending, 60% plan to spend the same as they did in previous years. 32% plan to spend between €21-40, and 31% plan to spend between €10-20 on Easter eggs. 

88% admit that recyclable packaging is not the most important factor when it comes to deciding what Easter egg to buy. What’s most important is 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 choice 

Milk chocolate is the most popular Easter egg people hope to receive this year (78%), followed by white chocolate (18%), dark chocolate (17%) and plant-based or vegan (4%). Almost a third (29%) expect to receive two eggs, while one in five (22%) expect to receive one. 10% expect to receive four eggs, and 5% expect to receive eight or more eggs.

And if we forget? 

More than a third (36%) admit to having forgotten to buy an Easter egg for a loved one in the past. To make it up to them, 44% spent a little more than they normally would, and 28% spent a lot more. When it came to the weekend itself, 44% had to buy alternative gifts because chocolate eggs had sold out in the shops, while 23% opted for alternative cards, and 24% said they had to buy their gifts at a later date. 

How are you spending your Easter?

This Easter, it’s 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. It’s also a time for indulgence, with 74% saying healthy eating will take a back seat in favour of sweet treats.

This Easter, 94% say they will make a conscious effort to recycle Easter packaging correctly, and Repak is encouraging the public to make sure they recycle all plastics and packaging from Easter eggs and gifts. Cardboard boxes, plastic moulds and clean tin foil are just some of the many items households will see pile up over the Easter weekend that can all go into the recycling bin once clean, dry, and loose.

Ireland currently recycles 33% of all plastics, but that needs to increase to 50% by 2025 to achieve the ambitious plastic recycling targets the EU has set for coming years. By recycling correctly this Easter, the public can help Ireland reach the goal and help us live in a Circular Economy.

Commenting on the research findings, 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. As now all plastics can go in the recycling bin, we have a great opportunity to help reach Ireland’s ambitious future plastic recycling target of 50% of all plastic by 2025, set by the EU.
With 92  % of people are expecting to receive on average five chocolate eggs this Easter, it is important for all of us to take an extra minute or two to understand what can be recycled and how to do so correctly. Recycling all plastics in addition to other recyclable items clean, dry, and loose is a great first step in helping Ireland increase its recycling rates. Joining Repak Team Green is also a great way to learn what can be recycled and tips to become an expert in recycling.”

For more recycling hints and tips, join Repak Team Green here and pledge to recycle more and better.

* refers to an omnibus survey of 1,000 Irish residents conducted by 3Gem in March 2023
** refers to an omnibus survey of 1,000 Irish residents conducted by 3Gem in March 2022