30% of extra waste is generated during the festive period and Christmas crackers are a major source of this waste, often containing non-recyclable packaging and plastic toys.
Friends of the Earth’s lead plastic campaigner Julian Kirby has collaborated with VoucherCodes to assess how environmentally-friendly different Christmas crackers are.
Various crackers were assessed for things such as the life-length of the toys, the material that the crackers are made from, the use of plastic packaging and the recycling instructions.
According to the analysis, Tesco had the least environmentally-friendly Christmas crackers, they contained novelty plastic toys, the outer packaging has a non-recyclable plastic window, the toys came in plastic packaging and there was unclear recycling information.
In comparison the best crackers were from Waitrose, they had built to last toys, the toys were not wrapped in plastic and the packaging was widely recyclable. However, the crackers still contained microplastic glitter and the outer packaging also has a plastic window.
Julian Kirby commented: ‘Christmas crackers come with excess packaging that can’t always be recycled, as well as a lot of single-use tat, so this is one festive product that you should think twice about.
‘John Lewis & Partners, Debenhams, Liberty, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose & Partners crackers contain longer-lasting toys, but they’re let down by the plastic packets they come in.
‘We know Waitrose is working towards plastic-free crackers by 2020 so we look forward to seeing that next year.
‘And, while Sainsbury’s limits waste by removing the plastic window on its Home Luxury Crackerbox, the crackers themselves are covered in glitter, which is a microplastic that can be harmful to the environment.’
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes said: ‘With most of these crackers you get what you pay for.
‘Tesco has the lowest cost per cracker at 33p, but Julian’s verdict is that they’re not sustainable due to unclear recycling instructions and single-use toys.
‘On the other hand, Waitrose includes built-to-last toys and the packaging is widely recyclable, nut at £5 per cracker they’re one of the priciest options.
‘My recommendation, if you want to avoid the plastic waste that crackers produce, is to make your own.
‘There are lots of great kits available to buy, you just need to pick what you put into the cracker, which means you can decide how much you spend.’
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In related news, waste and recycling company BusinessWaste estimates there are 16.5 million advent calenders containing single-use plastics in circulation this year, enough to stretch from London to the North Pole.
Photo Credit – Pixabay