Last year I wrote in detail (The ‘greenness’ of Easter Eggs) about the initiatives of the chocolate industry to minimize the waste of packaging material used for Easter Eggs, one of the most polluting and wasting periods of the year.
It looks like that the UK is the only country in the world where Easter Eggs are scrutinized carefully for their excessive waste of wrapping. There are no reports of any other country where the chocolate Easter Egg is a hot sales item during this time of the year, the chocolate Easter Egg represents some 10 to 15% of the yearly sales.
There have been a substantial improvement in efforts by manufacturers to reduce the amount of packaging on Easter Eggs in the last two years. This year, however, improvements have been slight.
Fell the average total weight of packaging for an Easter Egg between 2008 and 2009 by 36%, from 82.6g to 52.8g, this year it fell by just 3.8%, dropping from 52.8g to 49g.
Although many chocolate companies have trimmed their Easter Egg packaging in 2009, they still stay with the foil wrappers, and no matter how much they are reduced, they still go to landfills.
So let’s leave the Easter Eggs this year for what they are and take a look at eco-friendly packaged chocolate alternatives. One of these are the Chocolate Praline Butterflies from Marks & Spencer, a High Street retailer in the UK. Although created for Mother’s Day, which in the UK was March 14 this year, its introduction is so close to Easter that I suppose they can be included in eco-friendly Easter products.
The paper packaging, in which the new Private Brand Milk Chocolate Praline Butterflies are packaged, is impregnated with seeds, that will grow into ‘Candytuft’ flowers, known to attract butterflies. Candytuft, also known as Iberis umbellata Rose Cardinal, are round heads of fragrant flowers, which come in a range of colours from white to red, are summer flowering annuals which attract Comma, Green-veined White, Large Skipper and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.
Once the chocolate has been eaten, the packaging can be unfolded, placed on a flower bed or in a pot and covered with a layer of soil or compost, and watered. For a carpet of flowers around the garden the seeded paper can be cut into six squares and spread around the garden. The paper should be planted from March to May and will flower from June to August.
If the packaging is a success, Marks & Spencer plans to extend it to other products.
Another chocolate product that avoids the trashcan is Ananda, using packaging that can be tossed in home gardens or compost piles. Unfortunately Ananda didn’t impregnate their paper board packaging with plantable seeds.
The new line of Ananda dark chocolate bars from Amigos International come in a box made of five-fold certified paper (e.g. FSC and chlorine-free), and 3-colour printed with vegetable-based ink. Furthermore a compostable NatureFlex NK film replaces the foil wrappers that typically cover chocolate.
NatureFlex is a range of compostable packaging made by Innovia Films. The NK material is a clear film that keeps out moisture, and is targeted at the candy sector. NatureFlex is made from wood pulp cellulose, and is certified to European and American standards for composting in home and industrial settings.
Designed by Magdalena Tworkowska and Andrea Hanze, Imprenta Segura dressed Ananda Chocolate up with pure ecological materials. The paper comes from sustainable managed forests in Colombia (PEFC certified), the foil is home-compostable (Foil4Soil) and only 3 colours per design were used (with vegetable based inks). The bars are organic and completely produced in Ecuador.
However all this eco-friendliness in product and packaging frightens marketers. They warn that, while brand owners want to promote their eco-credentials on their labels with biological and ecological logos, the prominent show-off might cause an ‘eco-fed-up feeling’ or even an ‘eco-aversion’ with the consumer. Or in other words the ‘eco-saturation’ which occurs when consumers are overloaded with information about all the benefactions of ‘bio’ and ‘eco’.
Maybe it’s time to standardize and come up with a series of logos which express the ‘eco-grade’ of a product and packaging.
© Weslley Murylo De Souza Steeman – 100277