Ireland set to recycle 62,000 tonnes of packaging this Easter

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Repak surveyed 1,000 adults in Ireland on their Easter spending and recycling habits



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29 March 2024

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This Easter, Irish residents are expected to recycle more than 62,000 tonnes of packaging waste – a 1.8% increase on the 60,900 tonnes recycled in 2023. Easter marks one of the busiest times of the year across the country for waste recovery operators.

New research commissioned by environmental not-for-profit organisation, Repak, surveyed 1,000 adults in Ireland on their Easter spending, recycling habits and knowledge of what can be recycled. 

Recycling habits at Easter 

An overwhelming majority (88%) said that they felt confident in their recycling abilities when it comes to disposing Easter egg packaging. However, when asked how much of their Easter egg packaging they would recycle, just three in five (59%) stated they planned to recycle all of it. A quarter (25%) said they would recycle the cardboard box and plastic insert, while one in ten said they would only recycle the outer cardboard packaging. Just 2% said they didn’t plan to recycle at all.  

Timeless traditions 

The age-old tradition of gifting Easter eggs remains popular, with over a third (37%) planning to buy between 3-5 chocolate eggs, and a quarter (25%) planning to buy eight or more this year, while 28% will buy at least one Easter egg for themselves. More than a quarter (28%) hope to receive at least one Easter egg, with a third (32%) hoping to receive two or more.  

Easter is also all about family, with 83% planning to spend the long weekend with loved ones, with 7% saying they’ll be going out for a meal, 4% planning to take a trip abroad, and 4% going on a staycation in Ireland to mark the weekend. 

Milk chocolate on top

Milk chocolate remains the Easter egg of choice for the majority (80%) of people. That said, 22% also hope to receive a white chocolate egg, followed by dark chocolate (20%). More than a quarter (27%) have admitted to already cracking into an Easter egg, with a further quarter (23%) planning to indulge ahead of Easter Sunday.  

The quality of chocolate ranks highest in terms of importance when choosing an Easter egg (38%), followed by the type of chocolate (26%), price (20%) and size (6%).  

Easter spending habits 

This year, more than a quarter (27%) will spend more money on Easter eggs than last year, while more than half (57%) will spend the same and 16% plan to spend less. 22% will spend between €16-€25 on Easter eggs, 21% plan to spend between €26-€40, and a third (33%) will spend more than €41.  

A quarter will spend less than €15 on Easter eggs this year. In 2023, 32% spent between €21-€41 on Easter eggs, which shows a slight drop in spending, despite a quarter (25%) of people planning to buy eight or more Easter eggs for others.  

Alternative gifting remains popular this year, with 30% stating that they will buy both chocolate eggs and gifts this year. Gifts that people are giving include toys (32%), flowers (29%), vouchers (24%), books (24%) and cards (23%). 

 General recycling habits 

Waste segregation, separating waste into their correct bins, is key to effective recycling to ensure we are all contributing to a circular economy and reducing our environmental impact – especially around occasions like Easter which generate more waste.  

Almost three quarters (71%) said they always segregate their waste, with a fifth (22%) saying they often do, and just 2% admitting to rarely or never segregating their waste at home.  

Despite 88% initially saying they were confident in their recycling abilities, just more than half (52%) correctly answered what items can go in the recycling bin which includes plastic containers, plastic water bottles, plastic shopping bags, paper, cardboard, tins, cans and foil – once they are clean, dry and loose.  

Although confidence in the nation’s ability to recycle correctly is high, a high proportion don’t know exactly what can go into recycling bins. Since 2021, all plastics can go into the recycling bin. 

This Easter, Repak is calling on 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, once they are clean, dry and loose.  

Séamus Clancy, chief executive officer, Repak said: “Although many of us are excited to settle down for a long weekend of Easter festivities with friends and family, it is important to remember that this is a particularly busy time of year for waste operators across the country.  

“It is wonderful to see that so many of us are confident in our recycling abilities with 88% having great intentions when it comes to waste management, but the research shows there are still some gaps in what we think can and can’t go in our recycling bin.  

“This year we continue to encourage the public to play their part and segregate their waste correctly by ensuring only recyclable items go in the recycling bin clean, dry, and loose. If we make a concerted effort as a team, we will be able to successfully contribute to a circular economy, protect our environment, and build on our recycling habits.” 

 Read more: Last call for environmental champions to enter 2023 Repak Pakman Awards



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