When it comes to Christmas there is probably no other time when as much waste is generated. Lavish indulgence with additional food, Christmas trees, tree lights, cardboard, present packaging, toys, games consoles, wrapping paper and Christmas crackers all contribute to the waste the UK creates around the festive season. This list is not exhaustive either!
Figures in 2012 from Wrap (waste reduction advisory body for the UK government) it was estimated that Brits throw away the equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 300,000 tonnes of card packaging and 74 million mince pies each year. The sheer volume of waste is mind blowing with each UK householder spending £169 on food and wasting 30% more than normal, all at a time when bin collections are reduced and services even more stretched. The financial and environmental implications of all this excess is simply overwhelming with councils urging people to think more carefully about their purchases and what they recycle over the Christmas period to stop such a burden on waste services.
Here are some simple measures that might help:
Research waste provisions – it might not be normal to plan what you’re going to throw away before you’ve even consumed anything but knowing when bin collections are happening over Christmas and either cutting back or planning to recycle more may help. Find out where local recycling centres are to do a drop yourself or engage with private waste removal services who may offer additional services over Christmas and New Year.
Go easy – sure it’s Christmas but the waste generated is both phenomenal and unnecessary. Simple things like planning a food shop in advance, using frozen food where practical to avoid fresh food going unused or perishing. Online meal planners and party planners might help to hone in on the things you really need rather than overstocking.
Buy gift experiences rather than tangible items – finding the balance between having gifts to open on Christmas day and having nothing might seem tricky for some but actually buying a gift experience could create a more memorable and special gift for someone. There is always one person that is difficult to buy anything for so instead give them the gift of your time and take them out for dinner or a day trip to somewhere festive.