Christmas Waste

Dear World

What are we wasting this Christmas

Did we know these facts –


300,000 tonnes of card packaging used at Christmas

1 billion cards end up in the bin and not recycled

227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away

250 tonnes Christmas trees thrown away – not used for compost

2 million turkeys | 74 million mince pies | 17.2 million sprouts

13,350 tonnes of glass thrown out after Christmas (1)


25% more trash thrown away during Thanksgiving – New Year Holiday
25 million tons of extra garbage (1 million extra tons per week)

2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year (2)

4 million tons of gift wrapping and shopping bags – Christmas trash (3)


30% increase of waste at Christmas time

$11 billion spending on Christmas gifts

20 million unwanted gifts received at Christmas

86% find Christmas puts a strain on their finances
66% report buying Christmas gifts as major cause of this pressure

150,000km wrapping paper used during Christmas
enough to wrap around Earth’s equator 4 times

5 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year

90% discard over 25% of their food during the festive period
December 1 – January 1 (4)


We keep hearing about the waste on our planet and where it is ending up.

These stats are telling us that we cannot even be bothered to recycle when there is an option.

What sort of world have we become and WHY?

What drives our irresponsible behaviour to continue?

What is our individual Responsibility with our waste?

Could it be possible that we love the whole festive time because it is comfortable and we find it easy to switch off to the excess waste we are adding at this time of year?

Are we boring and unsociable if we choose to not subscribe to the Christmas waste?

Are we seen as the weird ones, if we consider the precious planet we live on?

What if mother Earth is asking us to stop dumping on her?

What if Earthquakes are a correction because we have created an ill on this planet?

Would our wise kids, if they knew the facts and had real education and understanding about Christmas waste, make different choices?

WHY is buying Christmas gifts a major cause of financial pressure when we really do have a choice?

Is that present buying and wrapping moment giving us any form of evolution?

Is it a waste of our time, shopping and waiting hours to get the car parked, then queue in the lines at the checkouts to buy gifts that could be unwanted?

What happens to all those unwanted gifts?

Do we get rid of them immediately?
Do we hoard them with our ‘Just Incase’ Syndrome?
Do we re-wrap and give them out to others?
Do we hate that our home is full of unwanted gifts?
Do we sell them on those sites or do a car boot sale?
Do we simply bin them and not think about landfill?
Do we act fake and phoney and pretend we like them?
Do we resent the fact that our gift buying costs us £$?

Has anyone asked or considered this Question

WHY are millions of turkeys and mince pies thrown out every year?

WHY is this happening and WHY is it making no sense at all?

Can we agree SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT if 5 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill each year in just one country?

WHY have we got malnutrition in the 21st century and a global obesity epidemic and all this un-necessary waste when it comes to food?

WHY are we not asking more and more Questions and talking about this stuff at every opportunity and every dinner table conversation?

So how does all this waste for one day of the year make us feel?

How long does that excitement or dream we had actually last?

Have we thought about the amount of time we waste on this waste stuff?

Are our waste-full behaviours adding to the Careless world we have created?

Do we care what happens and where that trash actually ends up?

Do we care enough about our planet Earth to bring about real change?

If we are to be Honest and consider the impacts of all our choices –
What does Christmas waste actually do for us, others and our planet?

Is it time to Question everything when it comes to our Christmas waste?

Would this lead to further questions about our endless waste-full ways?

Does our Christmas waste tell us something about how we choose to live and deal with our waste in everyday life?

Does our Christmas waste confirm that we like to have a good time but not consider the consequences of our choices as that would mean taking Responsibility?

Dear World

Is our Christmas waste an extension of how we deal with our everyday trash – with little regard of where it ends up?

Are we simply loving the “let loose and do what we like” season, way too much to even contemplate or consider what happens to our Christmas waste?

Are we ready to admit that we think we are responsible but are we really, if we look at every aspect of our life and that includes our waste-full ways at Christmas?

What if everything actually matters, regardless of the time of year?

The BIG Question is – was it worth it?


(1) Heath, O. (2016, December 25). 8 Shocking Statistics About Christmas Waste in the UK. House Beautiful. Retrieved December 10, 2018 from

(2) (n.d). Frequently Asked Questions: Holiday Waste Prevention. Stanford University. Retrieved December 10, 2018 from

(3) Cole, N.L. (2017, March 6). Christmas: What We Do, How We Spend and Why It Matters. ThoughtCo. Retrieved December 10, 2018 from

(4) (2018, November 28). How Much We Waste at Christmastime. National Storage. Retrieved December 10, 2018 from





Comments 8

  1. The Guardian – 15 December 2018

    Supermarkets have made a choice to reduce the food waste mountain at Christmas by offering shoppers edible produce nearing the end of its shelf life.

    This includes ‘wonky’ carrots, parsnips and sprouts at cheaper price.
    This is to stop the rejection or waste of fruit and vegetables that are mis-shapen | have growth cracks | much smaller | larger than average.

    Why are we only just starting to pay attention to the excess amount of food waste that comes with this time of year?

    Why have we become a nation that likes the eye candy?
    In other words, we want things to look nice and right when we buy it

    Why have we not grown up to appreciate the fact that we are actually perfectly imperfect?

    Why have we not been taught that there is not such thing as perfect fruit and veg?

    Why is this less than perfect thing bugging and bothering us so much?

    Why are we willing to purchase the wonky veg but give our bodies a hard time for not being perfect and in shape?

    Is there a correlation between our own life and how we want it to be perfect, that it runs over into our shopping habits at the supermarket, when it comes to fruit and vegetables?

    For those who only subscribe to the non wonky perfect looking stuff when they buy their veg –

    A question to consider –

    What would actually happen inside our body if we were served delicious veg in a restaurant that we had no idea was wonky and had growth cracks?

    A question for those who hate waste and are really up for this wonky veg business –
    Are we living the standards we expect and want from others or do we have double standards?

    In other words, we say one thing about eating wonky veg to save waste but we have excess spending habits and are super waste-full at Christmas time?

  2. It feels like the crazy waste of Christmas is simply a concentrated version of what we are already doing.

    So we get to see the excesses more clearly.

    It is hard to hide from these statistics, once presented and it has made me reflect on present buying, packaging, wrapping and food waste more generally, in my own life.

  3. This week I went to our bins to put the rubbish out and I was astonished at the mess that it was in. The bins were overflowing with rubbish, which was unusual. On top of that there were boxes strewn around the bins and even odd items like a duvet on top of one of the bins, not in a bag.

    It felt offensive. A clear message of I don’t care was what I got coming from the bin room, from the way the items had been dumped by those who had left their rubbish there.

    Do we consider how we leave areas when we place something down?

    Are we aware of the resulting impact on others and the message that we are giving out?

    Are we aware of what we are teaching our children with this behaviour?

    The clear message that I got here was “I don’t want this, now I’ve got rid of it, who cares how, it’s not in my house anymore”.

    Is there a way that we can dispose of items with respect for the item and our environment, even though we do not want them anymore?

    Is there a greater responsibility that we all have to take care, even when disposing of our household waste?

  4. A recent news story about Britain’s best Christmas lights, which used 60,000 bulbs and the lights synchronized to Christmas songs which took 300 hours of programming.

    The money expert website’s research revealed that the British will spend £222 million on Christmas lights this season, with energy bills expected to increase by a third for households who have lights on display.

    1 in 5 are decorating their home for the local community but is this a wise movement and does it include all of us?

    There are many in local communities who suffer with loneliness, drug addiction or are struggling in some way.

    Does our light filled display offer them something, or are we more interesting in getting into the Christmas spirit and having a jolly time as it’s eye candy that we just love?

    What about the cost?

    Could the monies spent for a visual experience that we desire be used more wisely to support our local community?

    Is this the type of question we need to all be asking before another Christmas descends on us?

    Imagine 300 hours of community service in whatever form it was needed actually took place?

    Think about it – spending time with someone on a regular basis, who rarely, if ever gets a visitor.

    What if we made the effort, because we have the time to consistently support others to GP and hospital visits so they are not ever alone?

    What if we have the resources to help another in our neighbourhood by cleaning up their house or garden, instead of spending hours and hours on a light display?

    Are these the type of questions we need to all be asking and the others presented in this blog, before another Christmas descends on us as we reflect on Christmas Waste?

    We seem to bang on about community but do we really have a sense of what community is all about, or is it really about our self being identified or recognised and what we get out of it, in the disguise that it is for others and in the name of benevolence?

    It is time to be honest about our hidden agenda or intention behind anything that we do in the name of community.

    Does it serve self or the whole – All of US Equally?

  5. Metro News – 10 November 2020

    Reading the comment above – another Christmas has descended on us and what questions are we going to ask this time.

    A 60 ft Norwegian tree has 30,000 lights and it took more than 60 people spending 300 hours decorating the homegrown tree and surrounding streets.

    We could say WOW or we could ask what on earth is going on when we have a country in second lockdown this year and a national debt of over £2 trillion which tells us something is seriously wrong with the way we are all behaving and operating in life.

    Most of us want the escape that Christmas offers as we have been locked up with no where to go and the screen time is having us watch even more and we feel less able to get up, move and get on with life. The only thing that we are doing at home is not getting ready – we are working and living in pyjamas and eating more than ever.

    The question is how in lockdown do we get over 300 people decorating a tree and some streets?

    Do they have social distancing rules applying or are there other rules and regulations?

    Is anyone actually policing them or do we turn a blind eye in the name of Christmas spirit?

    As the previous comment says “Imagine 300 hours of community service in whatever form it was needed actually took place.”

    What if (as the previous comment says) we spend some of those hours visiting someone who are genuinely lonely and rarely if ever gets a regular visitor. Imagine how life changing that would be for someone in the latter years in life, especially after this pandemic lockdown year.

    The what if list goes on from the previous comment so no need to repeat, as it’s all been said and done re what is possible. Instead time is spent decorating one big tree that may or may not get the flood of visitors because of the uncertainty of government restrictions which can change overnight and there is also a strong chance many will not be bothered to come out, as their movements have been so limited they are not up for moving much other than from their bed, desk or sofa to eat and then go back. After a while it becomes a habit, a norm, a momentum and changing that may not happen just because there is a big giant tree to go and visit with loads of lights.

    As this blog is called Christmas Waste – is it something we all need to question now?
    What are we wasting at Christmas time and how does it affect us All?
    What makes decisions like this and have we truly thought about the consequences?

    Our city, our country and our world is really not in a good state and whilst we may think fairy lights and Christmas trees will wash away the misery and bring in the wishes, we need to remember it is not a reality check and as with every single Christmas, when it is over we seem to have more depression and other ills present themselves soon after and there is our confirmation that something is clearly not right in the way we behave when it comes to Christmas.

    This blog is well worth a re-read and a much needed wake up call as to how we are getting swept up in this jolly season without even thinking about the aftermath.

  6. iNews – Independent – 26 December 2020

    600,000 km of Christmas bulbs discarded by UK homes every year.
    This amount could light every stretch of road in the country.

    1.5 times to the moon – that is a lot of waste in the name of Christmas.

    What are we doing and what is driving this?

    In other words, what is going on behind the scenes, so to speak that gets us buying and throwing out soon as Christmas goes?

    What a waste we could say and how many of us are actually even aware of this ?

    We have got a name “throwaway culture” and this confirms that name.

    We have become a throwaway society with our cheap goods that can be discarded as they hold little, if any value once we get the initial buzz factor.

    Where are the good old fashion values and common sense that used to be around in the old days?

    We bang on about our waste and all they ways we need to change, but very few of us have considered the consequences of that one week in December where we let lose, buy buy, buy, distract, distract, distract and then throw it out – discard, discard, discard, giving no regard for what it is doing to mother earth as we have made it our normal to be a throwaway culture.

  7. It is mid-November and the adverts are already out for those seeking Christmas gifts and there is no Christmas for most without a box of chocolates.

    The national newspapers sure give us an insight into what is trending and what the masses want.

    We ought to remember that without a demand there can be no supply.

    We all have a habit of blaming those greedy suppliers that profit and yes they do, but let us be reminded that we put them there first and then they can go and supply.

    On that note – we are just desiring and seeking more and more eye candy – pun intended.

    Huge advertisement covering a whole page from one of the country’s established posh supermarkets – Christmas box of chocolates that light up. Yes you read correctly, you open up the box and the picture of the perfect Christmas wonderland with trees with snow on the branches and snow everywhere on the ground, a winding lane with small houses dotted around and lights coming through the windows. In the night sky there is a bright light. We could say how creative and wonderful and how Christmassy and perfect this is for a gift.

    The chocolates are shaped in the form of little houses and all at different angles and not like a typical chocolate box where it is in a straight line and across. There is a winding gap and it follows through onto the lid with the picture and the lights. Yes they advertise it as magic and sparkle and don’t we just love that to bring us into the festive mood.

    But have we forgotten something here?
    Are we the ones that think we recycle our waste and do our bit for the planet?
    Are we the ones that bang on about the earth and its limited resources?
    Are we feeling that something needs to be done about climate change?

    Are we aware that our footprints matter?
    In other words, everything adds to the planet be it harmful or healing?

    This article is titled CHRISTMAS WASTE.

    Is this winter wonderland chocolate box something we want to show the world on social media as it goes with the glitter filled gin bottles now in store with a snowman inside for added effect, or is it because the old way of celebrating Christmas is just not cutting it?

    What is it about our eyes that want more and more different things to marvel and gush at?

    Have we ever considered what effort must go into creating this and who on earth would come up with this in the first place – lights behind a box lid with 25 chocolates?

    Time we got a dose of Absolute Honesty so we can admit what is the purpose of this Christmas chocolate box.

    We can be assured it will end up in landfill as the whole box with lights embedded inside may not be recyclable or we throw it into recycle as it makes us feel good that we are doing our bit without checking if this is acceptable or not.

    And finally, it is worth re-reading this short article and taking in how each of us adds to the Christmas waste statistics every year.

  8. The amazing thing about all of this waste is that we create it every year, without fail, and then complain about it.

    Maybe using the word ‘amazing’ is incorrect here. A more suitable word would surely have to be ‘ridiculous’.

    It is totally ridiculous that every year we amass this mountain of waste per household – whether it is wrapping paper, cards, unwanted presents or food waste – and don’t even give it a second thought as to possibly changing our ingrained ways.

    The attitude around this time of year is, has been, and will probably be for some time, one of indulgence and with that comes a lack of disregard for our planet and what Mother earth has to endure.

    The extra waste we produce at Christmas has to de dealt with. This means extra workforce, extra time and extra resources and of course, all of this impacts on our planet.

    And all of this for one day in the year – and let’s face it, this one day has lost most of its semblance to the original celebrations.

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