Christmas Waste Facts – It’s Not Very Jolly

Facts About Christmas Waste

We all love Xmas day, everyone but the environment. Below we have probably the world’s largest collection of shocking and disgusting Xmas waste facts and figures, how many of them do you contribute to them?

For all things relating to Christmas waste including statistics, visit our Christmas waste hub.

Learn about commercial waste collection and waste disposal.

sad Christmas waste facts.

Christmas food waste facts

  • The waste generated at Christmas goes up by 30% compared to the waste created during the rest of the year.
  • Over one in seven British consumers buy more food than they need.
  • The biggest culprit is the food we consume. Approximately 66% of people admit to buying too much Christmas food that ends up in the bin.
  • This binned food usually amounts to 42 million dishes of Christmas food.
  • We purchase 10 million turkeys in the UK for xmas day.
  • Over 19,000 tonnes of turkey is cooked over the holiday season.
  • For frozen turkey, we consume approximately 12,472 tonnes of it, and for fresh turkey, we consume 6,711 tonnes of it.
  • We throw away 263,000 turkeys.
  • We throw away 7.5 million mince pies.
  • We also bin 740,000 portions of Christmas pudding.
  • This year we are expected to consume 25 million Christmas puddings all wrapped in plastic or cardboard.
  • 17.2 million sprouts also end up in landfills.
  • Christmas in the UK results in the sad disposal of two million kilograms of cheese.
  • It is estimated that during the Christmas season, Brits cook 80 percent more food than at other times of the year.
  • 230 000 tonnes of this food ends up in the bin during the festive season.
  • Pigs in blankets are also sadly wasted, with a whopping 7.1 million going to the bin.
  • Gravy waste amounts to 9.8 million cups, enough to fill up an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
  • Brits love their parsnips for Christmas so much that they’re produced in excess resulting in about 10.9 million of them going to waste.
  • 11.3 million potatoes end up wasted
  • 9 Million carrots end up wasted
  • Approximately 40% of groceries in the UK are sold on sale during the Christmas season, which encourages overspending and wasteful habits.
  • Nearly 45 percent of households said they throw away excess fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Brits are not above giving away food in the Christmas spirit, but, only 60% of the food that would otherwise be thrown away ends up in the hands of the less fortunate.
  • With just one caddy of Christmas food waste, enough electricity can be generated to power a television for two hours or a refrigerator for eight hours.
  • Beer consumption over the holidays would fill 57 Olympic-sized pools. This equates to a little over 250,000,000 pints of beer.
  • Every Christmas holiday season, 500 million cans of soda are sold.
How to reduce food waste at Christmas

Christmas packaging waste facts

  • The amount of Christmas plastic packaging that was placed in the general waste bin instead of the recycling bin in 2018 was estimated at 114,000 tonnes.
  • 3,000 tonnes of turkey packaging are sent to waste.
  • For the preparation and storage of turkey and other Christmas holiday meals, UK customers will use almost 4,500 tonnes of tin foil.
  • 300 million plastic cups and straws will be used.
  • Just during the festive season alone, approximately 125,000 tonnes of food-wrapping plastic is discarded
  • Plastic waste generated by the UK each Christmas equals the weight of 3.3 million Emperor Penguins.
  • The packaging for toys and gifts is discarded in approximately 100 million black bags every year.
  • The one million mince pies consumed by Britons over Christmas creates one tonne of aluminium waste material.
  • Christmas time generates 125,000 tonnes of plastic, with goods ranging from advent calendar trays and candy wrappers to enormous gift boxes.
  • 2,003 Britons were polled about how environmentally conscious they are, and 48 percent said they plan to reuse their gift bags. Sixteen percent of them intend to use more paper-based wrapping paper that is recyclable.
Learn about packaging waste disposal

Christmas wrapping paper waste facts

  • During the Christmas season, the amount of wrapping paper thrown away if laid need to end would equal 384,400 kilometres or 238,855 miles
  • This wrapping paper is followed by its companion, a sticky tape, with over million rolls used on Christmas eve.
Learn about paper recycling

Christmas tree waste facts

  • 160,000 tonnes of trees are dumped each January.
  • 14% of respondents said they would discard their artificial Christmas trees rather than reuse them the following year.
  • Rotting Christmas trees give off 100,000 tons of toxic gases. This is because the trees decompose and produce methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
  • In the Christmas spirit, UK citizens cut down 8 million trees for Christmas trees each year, contributing largely to deforestation.
What to do with an old Christmas tree

Costs associated with Christmas waste

  • Every year, the UK citizens spend £700 million on unwanted gifts!
  • Of all the purchases made for Christmas in the UK, only 1% will remain in use six months after the festivities have ended.
  • Each year, the average household spends £185 on Christmas decorations.
  • During the Christmas holiday season, Royal Mail sends out over 150 million cards across the UK all of which end up in the bin.
  • Every year, the UK spends £26 million to dispose of holiday waste that is transported to landfills.
  • 12500 tonnes of Christmas decorations are discarded in landfills, totalling £1.2m. This includes 68,488 miles of Christmas lights.
  • Each year after the festive season, 141,525 tonnes of food packaging are discarded at landfills, costing £13.3 million.
  • Every year, 30,000 tons of Christmas cards are thrown away, which is equivalent to £2.8 million worth of landfill costs.
  • The average UK household spends an extra £100 on food, of which at least £16 goes straight to the garbage. Based on this figure, potential Christmas food waste in the UK would amount to £444 million.
  • One in five British adults (49%) expect to receive an advent calendar this year, with Londoners spending an average of £13.60 on them in 2019. All of these advent calendars end up in the bin at the end of the holiday season.
  • Each household in the UK spent more than £400 on Christmas decorations, food, and drink in 2019.

The carbon footprint associated with Christmas waste

  • It is estimated that turkey cooking generates 14,056 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in the UK
  • Cooking the UKs Xmas sprouts alone would uses enough energy to power a house for three years.
  • Our trips to family and friends during the Christmas holidays results in a total of 1 billion miles driven.
  • The carbon impact of Christmas Eve, Christmas, and Boxing Day account for 5.5 percent of the UK’s total annual carbon footprint.
  • The Christmas feasts have the same carbon footprint as a single car travelling around the world 6,000 times.
  • The annual Coca-Cola tour truck is a famous Christmas tradition with Brits driving over 3000 miles just for pictures. The environmental toll of this outweighs the fun. Can you call standing in a carpark fun?

Christmas glass waste facts

  • During the months of December and January, 13,350 tonnes of glass are discarded, including wine and other bottled beverages drunk over the holidays.
  • Every Christmas, UK households consume and discard 205 million glasses of champagne.
Glass bottle and jar recycling

General Waste Associated With Christmas

  • According to a study conducted by Business Waste on 1100 UK households, 99 percent of individuals put Christmas cracker gifts in the bin at the end of the day.
  • 81 percent of the 1100 households polled admitted to using a plastic tablecloth that they threw away at the end of the holiday season.
  • Despite this, a recent study indicates that one-fifth of Brits will be more waste-conscious than ever this coming Christmas.
  • On Christmas Day, about 40 million Christmas crackers are anticipated to be thrown away.
  • The bulk of the plastic produced during the holiday season is single-use products.
  • The majority of Christmas jumpers are made of plastic, and 50% of the microfibres leak in the first wash!
  • Paper packaging makes up only 1% of all packaging for household toys.
  • Only one out of every four Christmas cards is recycled.
  • By March of next year, 41% of toys bought as gifts will be broken and destined for the landfill.

Learn more about Christmas waste

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