Packaging makes up a quarter of the total weight of best-selling Easter eggs on average – with more than a third of the weight of some products made up of cardboard and plastic.
Thornton’s Classic Large Egg uses the most packaging compared to the other Easter eggs analysed by Which?, totalling 36.4 per cent of the weight.
However, the vast majority of Easter egg packaging can now be recycled, the investigation found – a huge improvement on six years ago, when the UK government’s waste advisory body, Wrap, found that chocolate eggs generated an estimated 3,000 tonnes of UK waste each year, much of which ended up in landfill.
But a separate inquiry by green group Friends of the Earth found that many Easter eggs made by firms including Cadbury, Mars, Lindt and Thorntons still contain unnecessary plastic packaging.
The investigations come as pressure is increasing on governments to ensure that plastic waste is minimised to help reduce landfill and reduce the amount of plastic which makes its way into the sea, putting marine life at risk.
The Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Egg at 28.1 per cent was ranked the second worst by Which? after the Thornton’s product. The Mars Milk Chocolate Easter Egg and Chocolate Bar and Cadbury Creme Giant Egg, both came in just above the 25 per cent average.
But some companies were lauded in the report for minimising packaging.
The egg with the least packaging of the ten investigated was the Cadbury Twirl Large Easter Egg. Its packaging, which made up 18.8 per cent of the total weight, is made almost entirely of cardboard meaning most of it can be recycled. Only the two chocolate bar wrappers, which weigh less than 1g together, cannot be put in the recycling bin.
Nikki Stopford, director of research at Which?, said: “It’s great to see that some manufacturers have taken on board concerns about excessive packaging and chocolate lovers can enjoy their eggs without too much compromise.”
Andrew Pankhurst, re-use and recycling campaigns manager for Zero Waste Scotland, said its research found that 60 per cent of what goes in the non-recyclable “landfill” bin in Scottish households could have been recycled.
He said: “By buying Easter eggs with less packaging, or choosing home-made chocolate treats as an alternative, it’s easy to reduce the amount of packaging thrown out from Scottish homes.
“Recycling packaging where possible, or even re-using some of the packaging, helps keep valuable materials in use and out of landfill.”
Friends of the Earth plastic-free campaigner Julian Kirby said: “With huge public concern about the impact of plastic pollution on our environment and wildlife, it’s astonishing that so many Easter eggs still use unnecessary plastic packaging.”