christmas wrapping paper and tags on table.
Christmas waste facts and stats

Christmas Waste

The festive season is a time for excess as we overindulge, spend, and celebrate. Unfortunately, this excess includes the amount of Christmas waste we produce. Businesses and households around the UK produce much more waste at Christmas than any other time of the year – from food and packaging to plastic, paper, and presents.

On average, UK households spend 29% more in December than in any other month, according to the Bank of England. This is reflected in the amount of rubbish produced, as the typical household creates 30% more waste at Christmas than any other time of the year. Yet these aren’t even the most shocking Christmas facts about waste.

Discover more Christmas waste facts, statistics, and our guides to help your business or home have an eco-friendly Christmas this year.

Christmas waste statistics

Facts and statistics about Christmas waste change every year as businesses and households are more aware and active about reducing how much rubbish they produce. There are still plenty of surprising stats about Christmas waste out there, which will hopefully encourage companies and homes to plan and think carefully about ways to reduce their waste.

Our individual guides cover specific Christmas waste facts and stats for the likes of food, packaging, cards, trees, and more. To give a brief overview of the extra seasonal rubbish produced we’ve pulled together some top-level Christmas waste statistics about the amount of excess waste created over the Christmas period.

How much extra waste is produced at Christmas?

christmas waste statistics in a chart.

Some further shocking Christmas waste statistics about the UK include:

  • 227,000 miles of Christmas wrapping paper are thrown away every year.
  • Around one billion Christmas cards are bought in the UK, but only one in four are recycled.
  • £700 million is spent on unwanted presents each Christmas in the UK.
  • 40 million Christmas crackers are binned on Christmas day itself.
  • More than 16 million advent calendars are sold in the UK and most contain some type of non-recyclable plastic.
  • 3,000 tonnes of turkey packaging go to waste each year.
  • 300 million plastic cups and straws are used at Christmas parties and celebrations, most of which aren’t recyclable.
  • UK households and businesses spend £26 million to send Christmas waste to landfill.
  • Christmas food waste costs are estimated to be around £444 million in the UK.
  • An extra 750 million bottles and 500 million cans are thrown away over the Christmas period.
christmas cards and stationery on table.

Christmas waste guides

Have an eco-friendly Christmas this year with these tips on reducing festive rubbish from our waste experts. From managing commercial Christmas waste to throwing a zero-waste party and getting rid of your Christmas tree sustainably, we’ve got you covered. Find out how to have a zero waste Christmas in your business and household with our detailed guides.

  • How to plan a low waste Christmas party

    Christmas party waste can add mountains of rubbish to landfill every year. Find out how to plan a low waste Christmas party at work or home in this guide.

  • What to do with an old Christmas tree

    There are many responsible ways to get rid of your old real or fake Christmas tree in January. Find out what to do with an old Christmas tree in this guide.

  • Guide to sustainable Christmas decorations

    Sustainable Christmas decorations are green and create zero waste. Decorate your business or home with these ideas for eco-friendly Christmas decorations.

  • How to reduce food waste at Christmas

    Christmas food waste adds tonnes of edible food to landfill every year. Discover how to reduce food waste at Christmas in your home or business.

  • Dealing with commercial waste at Christmas

    Businesses in all industries produce more rubbish over the festive period. Learn how to manage your commercial waste at Christmas with these tips.

  • Sustainable Christmas gifts – 20 zero waste ideas

    Sustainable Christmas gifts reduce how much waste we produce over the festive season. Discover some great zero-waste Christmas gift ideas in this guide.

  • A guide to reducing Christmas wrapping paper waste

    Christmas wrapping paper can be tricky to recycle and leads to lots of waste. Discover how to reduce Christmas wrapping paper waste in this guide.

  • Recycling Christmas lights – is it possible?

    What do you do with fairy and Christmas tree lights when they don’t work? Discover how and where to recycle old Christmas lights in this guide.

  • All about Christmas card recycling

    Recycling Christmas cards is quick, easy, and saves trees. You can recycle most cards. Discover all you need to know about Christmas card recycling.

  • How to recycle and reuse advent calendars

    Combining paper, card, foil, and plastic makes advent calendars hard to recycle. Explore some sustainable advent calendar ideas and ways to reduce waste.

  • Christmas waste facts

    Here we have the ultimate and shocking list of Christmas waste facts. Read some surprising Christmas waste stats and hang your stockings up in shame.

  • Should Christmas crackers be banned?

    Find out why it’s high time we ditched cheap Christmas crackers, shiny wrapping paper, plastic table cloths, and Christmas napkins.

  • The hidden cost of your choccie-filled advent calendar

    Learn about the mountains of waste opening the first window on you or your child’s advent calendar can create.

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