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Repak Easter recycling survey results

  • Over half of the I will keep up tradition of buying chocolate Easter eggs this year Repak encourages everyone to continue to recycle at home this Easter
  • At least 1 in 10 will buy 8 or more chocolate eggs, yet over two thirds (69%) don’t plan to spend more than €20
  • Almost 6 in 10 (59%) say that it would be easier to manage the amount of chocolate eggs they buy if chocolate eggs went on sale later
  • A significant 92% would prefer to buy a chocolate egg that comes in recyclable packaging
  • Repak calls on the Irish public to continue to recycle over Easter

Easter will be very different for all of us this year as we stay at home to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. However, over half (57%) of the Irish public plan to keep up the age-old tradition of buying chocolate eggs as Easter gifts for others. That’s according to the findings of new research by environmental not-for-profit organisation, Repak*.

In 2019, Irish residents spent €44 million on chocolate eggs and a record €208 million on groceries in the week leading up to Easter weekend**. With almost 8 in 10 (79%) still planning to buy Easter gifts and people consuming more items at home than usual, household recycling bins will fill up quickly after the Easter bunny retires for another year.

This Easter, Repak is asking the public to continue to recycle all types of packaging and, in particular, packaging from Easter Eggs and gifts. Cardboard boxes, plastic moulds, chocolate trays, clean tin foil and egg boxes can all be recycled, and should be placed in the bin clean, dry and loose. While we are all generating more waste at home, it is important that everyone plays their part and recycles as much as possible to help protect our environment.

Eco Easter

The Repak study has revealed that while chocolate egg gifting remains a popular Easter tradition, choosing to buy alternative gifts is also becoming more common. A fifth of those surveyed (21%) plan to buy no gifts for Easter, with another fifth (22%) will looking beyond chocolate for Easter present options to give their loved ones.
Reasons for buying alternative gifts to chocolate vary, but a quarter (26%) say they are doing so to be more eco-conscious and gift items that are accompanied by less packaging than chocolate eggs. This eco-conscious mindset is particularly strong amongst females and younger respondents. Another 41% said they will buy alternative gifts for health-conscious reasons, with half of Dubliners (50%) citing health as the reason why they won’t be satisfying anyone’s sweet tooth this year.

Spending habits

A third (34%) of Irish residents said they planned to dish out between €11 and €20 on gifts, despite 1 in 10 planning to buy 8 Easter eggs or more. Older generations are inclined to spend more, with those polled aged between 45-54 willing to spend over €75 or more on chocolate.
Although a whopping 92% said they would prefer to receive Easter eggs that are accompanied by fully recyclable packaging, other factors such as value for money (37%) and type of chocolate (36%) are more important than recyclable packaging (10%) when choosing what chocolate eggs to buy.

The shelf life of a chocolate egg

The research findings suggest that there are a lot of chocoholics amongst the Irish public, but 82% of respondents agree that the date that chocolate eggs typically go on sale in shops is too early for them, with this sentiment strongest among the over 55’s (90%). Perhaps unsurprising then that almost 6 in 10 (59%) say that they buy too many chocolate eggs and that it would be easier to manage the volume they purchase if these went on sale later.

Waste not, want not

Almost a third (31%) of those surveyed will keep chocolate Easter eggs for over a month if they don’t consume them over the Easter weekend, to either eat as they are or perhaps transform into another delicious treat. Women (38%) tend to keep chocolate eggs longer than men (25%). However, 24% consume their chocolate eggs within the week, suggesting a significant volume of recyclable chocolate egg packaging in recycling bins just after Easter weekend. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Regardless of chocolate egg buying habits and preferences, by pledging to join Repak’s Team Green initiative or following Repak’s top tips on how to become a great recycler at home, the public can continue to support the protection of the environment at this time.

Repak’s top tips for recycling this Easter

  • Most of the packaging on Easter eggs is recyclable – the cardboard and hard plastic covers can be disposed of in the recycling bin, as can clean tin foil and egg boxes (if not being reused for crafts).
  • Currently, only hard plastics can go in the household recycling bin – soft plastics (that you can scrunch in your hand), such as plastic film, sweet and chocolate wrappers, must go in the general waste bin.
  • Everything that goes in your household recycling bin must be clean, dry and loose. If items are wet or soiled with food, they will contaminate paper and cardboard in the bin. Items must be placed loosely in the bin and not in plastic bags.
  • Decorative packaging, such as ribbons should be reused for crafts or re-gifting and placed in the general waste bin when being disposed of.

Commenting on the research findings, Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak said:

“We are very conscious that this Easter is very different for all of us, and our focus is on staying safe and well and playing our part to prevent the spread of Covid-19 .We especially wish to thank Repak waste operators who are working hard and providing an essential service to ensure all household bins are collected nationwide during this very difficult time.
Every year, we see an increase in packaging waste generated over the Easter period, and this year we expect a similar trend. We are asking everyone to continue recycling and play their part in ensuring we continue to protect our environment at this difficult time. So, remember to only put recyclable items in the recycling bin that are clean, dry and loose. “

For more information on best practice recycling behaviour as well as a full list of household items that can and can’t be recycled, visit 

*refers to a research study survey of 1,000 Irish residents conducted by iReach in March 2020.

Team Green for Schools

Team Green is 3,400 Repak Members working together for a greener Ireland. Ireland has hit every plastic recycling target since 1997. Help us reach 50% of all plastic recycled by 2025.

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