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Which? unwraps the reality of festive chocolate packaging

The packaging of popular Christmas chocolates can make up almost half the total weight, according to new research by Which?.

Which? looked at the top 13 best-selling boxes of chocolates and found that Ferrero Rocher Collection was the worst offender with 42 per cent of the total weight taken up by packaging and only 11 per cent of that packaging being recyclable.

Thorntons Continental Selection came in second with packaging taking up 29.4 per cent of the whole weight and Cadbury’s Milk Tray third with 22.6 per cent. However, the recyclable components were 87 per cent and 93 per cent respectively.

On the other hand, Lindt Lindor Mix only contained 11.5 per cent packaging, with only the individual chocolate wrappers not being recyclable. Marks & Spencer The Big One
Selection has the least packaging at just 8.5 per cent, although you would only be able to recycle 71 per cent of it.

Which? found you could recycle over 80 per cent of the packaging of the majority of popular chocolate boxes. However, there was confusion when asking people what the different recycling symbols meant and how they would actually go about recycling.

Half (48%) wrongly identified the green dot, that is regularly found on packaging, as a sign that the packaging can be recycled. The green dot actually means that the manufacturer pays into a recycling scheme, and the packaging may not be suitable for recycling.

Nikki Stopford, Director of Research and Publishing at Which?, said:

“For many of us the indulgent look of these festive chocolate boxes is synonymous with the Christmas season.

“We are more aware than ever of the impact that we’re having on the world around us – so we want our research to help people to make the right choices for them and to understand how to dispose of packaging in the most eco-friendly manner.”

Recycling advice

  • Boxes of chocolates are often individually wrapped in foil, which is marked as recyclable on the box. Foil wrappers can be recycled but you need to make a bundle of at least 4cm in diameter for it to actually be identified at the recycling centre.
  • The plastic tubs that Celebrations, Roses, Quality Street, Heroes, Morrisons Mega Mix and Chocolate Treats by Sainsbury’s are made of PET 1. This is the same plastic that water and soft drinks bottles are made of. Easily recycled, this is collected by 99% of local authorities.
  • For more advice on recycling and what you can and can’t recycle, head over to the Recycle Now website.

Full table of chocolate packaging weight

Chocolate Weight in packaging (g) Packaging weight (g) Percentage packaging
Ferrero Rocher Collection 359g 642 272 42.4%
Waitrose Christmas Chocolate
Favourites 240g
356 108 30.3%
Thorntons Continental Selection 284g 408 120 29.4%
Cadbury’s Milk Tray 360g 470 106 22.6%
Mars Malteser Teasers 275g 364 70 19.2%
Chocolate Treats By Sainsburys 650g 806 154 19.1%
Mars Celebrations 650g 812 150 18.5%
Cadbury’s Heroes 660g 808 144 17.8%
Cadbury’s Roses 660g 810 144 17.8%
Nestle Quality Street 720g 846 130 15.4%
Morrisons Mega Mix 1.05kg 1216 162 13.3%
Lindt Lindor Assorted Mix 384g 384 44 11.5%
Marks & Spencer The Big One
Selection 600g
662 56 8.5%

Full table of recyclable packaging

Chocolate box Weight in packaging (g) Percentage easily recyclable
Waitrose Christmas Chocolate Favourites 240g 356 96.3%
Cadbury’s Milk Tray 360g 470 92.5%
Lindt Lindor Assorted Mix 337g 384 90.9%
Mars Celebrations 650g 812 90.7%
Cadbury’s Roses 660g 810 90.3%
Cadbury’s Heroes 660g 808 88.9%
Mars Malteser Teasers 275g 364 88.6%
Chocolate Treats By Sainsburys 650g 806 88.3%
Thorntons Continental Selection 284g 408 86.7%
Nestle Quality Street 720g 846 83.1%
Morrisons Mega Mix 1.05kg 1216 81.5%
Marks & Spencer The Big One Selection 600g 662 71.4%
Ferrero Rocher Collection 359g 642 11%

 

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