18 December 2019

Dreaming of a green Christmas?

In this latest blog, Biffa explains the results of a survey it conducted looking at waste arisings during the Christmas period, with many people dreaming of a green Christmas.


Despite the fact that the UK creates 30% more waste than usual, research suggests that Brits are still dreaming of a green Christmas.

The survey by Biffa showed that 68% of Brits will up their recycling efforts during the festive season

A survey from Biffa, has shown that 68% of Brits will up their recycling efforts during the festive season by buying gifts made from recycled materials or containing less plastic packaging.

Some of the standout measures from the poll include:

  • 70% of Brits are going green at Christmas thanks to increased awareness of global issues
  • 277,000 miles of wrapping paper will go to waste over the holidays
  • 87% of us want to see brands take more producer responsibility

Wrapping paper 

The Christmas period is set to see a whole lot go to waste in the UK, including around 277,000 miles of wrapping paper, up to 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies.

Higher numbers of people are more conscious of the need for a greener Christmas (pic: Shutterstock)

A quarter of households also predict they will throw away at least five bags of waste this Christmas, which 95%  vow to segregate so it can be disposed of responsibly.

The uplift in media mentions of recycling and the subsequent public awareness has had a noticeable impact on our behaviour in the UK, with 65% citing it as the reason for their increased conscience this Christmas. 40%  said they felt guilty about how much waste our festivities will produce.

A demand for greater retailer and brand responsibility has also been revealed, with 87%  of us wanting to see retailers reduce product packaging in the New Year in order to tackle the issue at the source and prevent the creation of unnecessary, hard to dispose of waste.

A Biffa graphic illustrating expectations around recycling and waste at Christmas

Those not planning to go green this Christmas have cited time constraints, being confused about what to recycle, and the sheer volume of rubbish created as reasons to chuck everything into general waste.

Food waste

Despite the nation’s best efforts, there is still likely to be high quantities of food thrown in the bin this Christmas.

In fact, over half of Brits plan to dispose of their leftover Christmas dinners properly for collection, but almost a fifth (16%) said that they wouldn’t bother despite having a separate food bin at home.

If disposed of correctly, food waste can be anaerobically digested and used to power our homes – making it an invaluable energy source in the UK.

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