This year is flying by, with Easter only a week away. Supermarkets have been displaying Easter eggs for the last couple of months, but it's likely that most people may have only just been thinking of Easter over the past week or so, or leaving it until the last minute.
After Christmas, Easter is the biggest chocolate-selling period of the year. In the UK, approximately 80 million chocolate eggs are sold each year, costing a staggering £299 million.
Also, greetings cards are becoming more popular at this time of year, with around 10 million being sent and received. The packaging from chocolate eggs, along with the cards, generates a whopping 8,000 tonnes of waste.
While chocolate eggs are a tasty treat that many of us like to enjoy at this time of year, they are often over packaged, with many of them encased in plastic that can't be recycled in some areas, ending up in landfill.
However, it's not all bad news. In 2009, Easter egg packaging was reduced by 25 per cent and, in some cases, by as much as 50 per cent. Manufacturers have reduced box sizes, which in turn has reduced the weight of the packaging.
The cardboard used is now made from recycled materials, and many eggs now come without any plastic and include clear instructions on how to recycle the packaging.
Even with this reduction in packaging, there are some alternatives to Easter eggs and cards that might just save you some cash, as well as the environment.
If you do want to send a card to friends or family, make sure that it's made from recycled material. Or you could try sending an e-card, available from a whole host of different websites. To reduce packaging completely from your chocolate eggs, you could try making your own. Kits are available from under £5 and they can be used again and again. Better still, you can choose your favourite chocolate to make your eggs. You might also consider other tasty craft ideas, such as crispy birds' nests. Made from Rice Crispies and chocolate, these treats will not only taste great and save on packaging, they also have the added bonus of being a great activity to get the kids involved in over the holidays.
Nowadays, children often receive up to 13 Easter eggs, bought by parents, family and friends. This equates to 1.3kg of sugar, a huge 12,000 calories. If you'd like an Easter activity that doesn't involve chocolate, why not try your hand at making traditional hand-painted Easter eggs, known as PAAS Eggs. Derived from the word 'Pasen', the Pennsylvania Dutch word for Easter, this activity focuses on decorating hens eggs with a variety of paints and dyes,
including natural onion skins. Using ribbons, the finished eggs can be hung from small potted branches creating a mini Easter tree.
Whether you're getting your hands dirty in crafty activities with the kids (details of which can be found on our Easter page) or enjoying a walk in the warm spring air, have a cracking Easter!