Shelling out for Easter eggs can add to your carbon footprint
With East Sunday only just over a week away many will be celebrating by buying the traditional chocolate eggs.
But many shoppers do not realise the cost to the environment of these treats.
A study by scientists at Manchester University has discovered that the ingredients and processes of the chocolate industry generate annually almost the same amount of greenhouse gases as the total emitted by Malta in a year.
The results published in the Food Research International Journal show that confectionery businesses produce 2.1 million tons of greenhouse gases with their packaging, processes and growing of ingredients per annum compared to the Mediterranean island’s almost 2.3 million tons per annum from all homes and industries.
According to the government’s waste advisory body, Wrap, the UK, which is one of the leading chocolate consumers in the world, sells more than 80 million Easter eggs a year.
This come with around 3,000 tonnes of packaging, a large part of which is plastic waste and is difficult to recycle.
“The figures are quite shocking and will surprise many chocoholics as they tuck into their presents,” said Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.
“I don’t want to spoil anyone’s Easter pleasure, but it raises the question of what we eat so as to minimise our carbon footprint,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd at Keele University, Staffordshire.
“Firstly, the whole confectionery industry must cut back on its carbon-making production processes,” said Ron, “especially when a third of the weight of some Easter eggs is the cardboard and plastic packaging.”
But he said there were other ways to protect the environment such as buying eggs with minimum packaging such as fair trade and eco-friendly chocolate or by making your own Easter eggs at home.
“However more importantly, householders could reduce their carbon footprint in a much bigger way by switching from harmful fossil fuels to environmentally friendly green energy,” he added.
Ron said one way was by installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on your home, which capture energy from the sun and then convert it into energy.
This gives householders the freedom from continuing rising energy prices in the future as well as cheaper energy bills.
“Also, with the cost of solar panels coming down recently and with easy installation and low maintenance residents can become energy self-sufficient,” he said.
Householders could also insulate and draught-proof their home. Around seven million properties in the UK with solid walls have little or no insulation.
Yet spray foaming the loft, inside walls and the outside walls can also cut bills by up to 45 per cent and reduce the energy needed for heating.
As well as creating a warm and draught-proof home it also adds a protective barrier against the cold, noise and air pollutants.
For more advice on solar panels, insulation and other green energy matters contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.
Caption: Easter eggs – a cracking present but not so good for the environment.