Engaged Ethics


We set ourselves a goal of 100% recyclable or reusable packaging by the end of 2022 – and we’re 96% of the way there.

As part of our Planet Pledge, our goal is to make all our packaging 100% recyclable or reusable. We’re 96% of the way there, and always re-evaluating and upgrading as we discover new sustainable packaging options. Here’s what we’ve done so far.

Making our plastic packaging sustainable

• We’ve joined the Plastics Pact – a collaboration of businesses, NGOs and government dedicated to eliminating problematic plastic packaging and making plastic easier to recycle. 
• We’re now a part of the UK’s first local circular economy for plastic, turning plastic waste into a manufacturing resource in Cambridgeshire.
• We’ve totally removed black plastic packaging from our range, converting 300 tonnes a year to kerbside recyclable. This means 96% of our packaging is now recyclable.
• All disposable cutlery and napkins provided at our Drinks & Ices locations are 100% compostable or recyclable. 
• Plastic straws are banned at our bars and our Drinks & Ices locations. 
• Our paper bags are fully recyclable. The materials for these come from Forest Stewardship Council-certified sources. This ensures our paper is sourced from forests that are sustainably managed.  
• In 2018, we introduced a range of reusable 100% natural jute and cotton bags. Jute is still used as the natural fibre for cacao sacks to store and transport cacao beans. 

Since 2017, we’ve removed all black plastic from our range because it’s so difficult to recycle. Instead, we’ve converted 300 tonnes of packaging a year into clear, 100% recyclable plastic. 



Using Paper Packaging Responsibly 

• We’ve ceased using polystyrene fillers to protect products during delivery. Polystyrene is not biodegradable or easily recyclable. Instead, we use corrugated paper that is 100% recyclable.
• We’re using less paper every year by going digital. We’re switching from paper to mostly online communication and invoicing for our guests and subscribers.



Reusable packaging 

• We’ve re-packaged our Extra-Thick and Ostrich Easter Eggs range in reusable keepsake tins. They’re 100% recyclable, like our Champagne Truffles and Biscuits of the Gods, but why would you want to throw away something so ‘tin-spirational’? 
• We’re part of the On Pack Recycling Labelling Scheme, dedicated to giving you clear, consistent guidance on how to recycle packaging. Our whole range is being updated to feature easy-to-follow guidance on how to reuse, recycle or dispose of our packaging. Just flip over the box.

We’re part of the On-Pack Recycling Label Scheme, dedicated to giving you clear, consistent guidance on how to recycle packaging.



Why black plastic can't be recycled

In theory, black plastic should be recyclable – but it’s not, in practice. Instead, most black plastic just ends up in landfill. And that’s because most of the current waste-sorting technology used in recycling centres has a blind spot for black plastic.  
The near-infrared cameras used to identify different types of waste rely on detecting the amount of light reflected off of an item to work out what it’s made from.  
Black plastic typically gets its colour from carbon pigments which don’t reflect much light, absorbing most of it instead. Even if a visible-light camera is used, it still can’t be detected. The sad result is that black plastic is often miscategorised, ending up in landfill instead of being selected for recycling. 



We’ve joined the UK’s first local circular economy for plastic

The idea of a ‘circular economy’ is to eliminate or reduce waste by turning it into a resource for manufacturing instead of dumping it in landfill, and using it over and over again. 
We’ve partnered with a packaging manufacturer called Charpak to do just that, becoming part of the UK’s first local circular economy for plastic. 
Charpak is a leading innovator in sustainable packaging in the UK. Located just down the road from our chocolate factory in Cambridgeshire, Charpak is at the heart of a county-wide network that collects, sorts and cleans plastic waste from kerbsides before processing it into raw polymers for making new plastic products.  
Once used, the plastic goes back into household recycling bins across the UK and is again fully recyclable. And if it goes into a household bin in Cambridgeshire, the plastic will be recycled in Charpak. 
All of our rigid plastic packaging, including our Dozen Quail’s Eggs box, is now made with 100% recyclable Charpak plastic, containing a minimum of 30% recycled plastic.  
Using Charpak as our rigid plastic provider has helped us take a major step closer to achieving our goal to make 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable, while making a significant positive impact on our carbon footprint. 



Why Charpak Plastic is more sustainable than Bagasse

How do you solve the problem of throwaway plastic food packaging that ends up in landfill? We’ve been on a journey to find the solution – and we haven’t always got it right.  
In 2019, we hoped the launch of a new bagasse egg-box for our Dozen Quail’s Eggs product might be the answer.  
Bagasse is a by-product of sugarcane production. It’s biodegradable and compostable and seemed to us like a good, sustainable alternative to our old rigid plastic trays. 
But after a while, we discovered that it has sustainability issues. For a start, bagasse is made from sugarcane grown in tropical and subtropical regions. Transporting it to the UK gives each tray a much larger carbon footprint than locally made packaging. 
Then there’s composting. Although bagasse is compostable, there’s no UK-wide infrastructure for kerbside disposal of compostable packaging like there is for paper, glass and plastic. In fact, only 5% of British households have access to industrial composting via their bins at home. 
Instead, most compostable, biodegradable packaging just ends up in landfill, where it will not properly compost. 
It might sound counterintuitive, but we discovered that an alternative way to make our trays more sustainable was to use plastic – and then keep re-using it over and over again to reduce waste. That’s why we partnered with Charpak as part of the UK’s first local circular economy for plastic. 



What’s a circular economy?

Make something, use it, then throw it away – the traditional economy follows a straight line.  

  A circular economy is a systemic approach to economic development designed to benefit businesses, society, and the environment. In contrast to the ‘take-make-waste’ linear model, a circular economy is regenerative by design and aims to gradually decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources. 

We’ve partnered with a packaging manufacturer called Charpak to do just that, becoming part of the UK’s first local circular economy for plastic. 



Why we changed our Dozen Quail’s Eggs box from bagasse to Charpak plastic  

Our decision to change our Dozen Quail’s Eggs packaging from bagasse to Charpak plastic might seem confusing – so we think it’s important to clearly communicate why. 

• Lighter and locally made and recycled, Charpak plastic has a significantly lower carbon footprint than bagasse, both from the energy and materials saved in manufacturing and during transportation. 
• Instead of just ending up in landfill, each Dozen Quail’s Eggs box is now 100% recyclable nationwide. If it’s dropped into a Cambridgeshire recycling bin, it will be recycled to make more of the same egg boxes, as part of the UK's first local circular economy for plastic. 

Sometimes we don’t get things right, but we’re confident this is a more sustainable packaging solution.   Switching to Charpak plastic has had a positive impact on our overall carbon footprint, and it’s helping us take another step closer to achieving our goal to have 100% of our packaging recyclable or reusable.

We’ve removed all single-use plastic from our stores and cafés. 



We’re making our reusable packaging too ‘tin-spiring’ to throw away 

The best kind of environmentally friendly packaging is the kind that’s so beautiful and easy to re-use you just don’t want to throw it away. 
That was the inspiration behind the elegant keepsake tins we created for our Champagne Truffles, Biscuits of the Gods, Extra-Thick Eggs and Ostrich Eggs, with striking designs that stand out from the crowd. 
Our tins are made out of 'tinplate' – chosen so our packaging designers could craft a beautiful design that would inspire people to find a new use for them. But it’s also infinitely recyclable, so it can be dropped in any household recycling bin safe in the knowledge it won’t end up in landfill. But why would you throw away something so beautiful?  
When you pop open a tin of our Champagne Truffles, it’s a celebration of real Champagne. So, we chose rose gold for pink Champagne and subtle gunmetal for the classic bubbly. 
Like our Biscuits of the Gods tins, each truffle tin is adorned with an intricate deboss resembling the island of Saint Lucia, as a link to our cacao-grower heritage. Meanwhile, our Extra-Thick and Ostrich Egg tins are inspired by the shape of a growing cacao pod.  
Once you’ve polished off your chocolate, you can upcycle your tin to a second life as a chic home storage solution – from keepsake boxes and desk tidies to jewellery and vanity boxes, even flower and herb planters. Your favourite succulent could take a truffle tin to new heights as a plant pot – and will look lovely on the kitchen countertop. 



Find more detailed information about our Ethical and Environmental sustainability data from FY 2021/2022 here.