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Ecoveritas: dreaming of a green Christmas

The UK produces and discards an extra 30% of rubbish throughout the festive period. That is 100 million bags of rubbish to landfill each Christmas.
We throw away approximately 500 tonnes of Christmas lights each year.
Some 54 million platefuls of food are discarded over Christmas.
We snap up 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year, and over 83 km2 of this ends up in bins.
Ecoveritas is reminding us that as party season kicks in, so will the effects of our excessive waste.

Christmas is the ‘most wasteful time of the year’ and can no longer be overlooked, according to leading environmental compliance data specialists Ecoveritas.

Christmas is a time for giving, receiving, and chucking packaging in the recycling bin. A time when we feel guilty about wheelie bins full of wrapping paper and drawers of unwanted gifts.

As party season kicks in, so will the effects of our excessive waste. An increasing number of families, enthused by environmental campaigners appalled at the tide of plastic junk generated by the season, are ditching frenzied shopping for more sustainable celebrations.

Ecoveritas commercial manager Sandy Dhesi is urging everyone to make it their mission to have a greener Christmas.

‘Never mind the famous, bright red Coca-Cola truck; the Christmas juggernaut is about to thunder into town, bringing December in all its excess with it,’ said Sandy. ‘Most of the damage has already been done. Over the past two weeks, you will have determined the shape and size of your ecological festive footprint, defined by how far you have travelled (and how), and indeed how far your Christmas dinner has travelled – through to the amount of plastic packaging surrounding the lovely bath set you just bought.’

At this time of year around 30% more waste is generated. This includes over one billion Christmas cards which are thrown away each year. It is estimated by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, that around 50,000 trees are cut down each year to make enough paper to wrap presents. Also, around 12 million tonnes of plastic enter our environment each year, equivalent to a bin lorry load every minute.

‘Our extravagance is off the scale,’ added Sandy. ‘Alternatives are not easy, but there are some useful ideas for those seeking them. Why not dream of a greener future?

‘We can make a difference by cutting back on prominent areas of excess, like unwanted gifts, plastic trees and decorations, and unrecyclable wrapping paper.

‘Glitter wreaks havoc in paper recycling. Embellishments on cards, such as ribbons or glitter cannot be recycled, so they should be removed first by simply tearing off that section.

‘Many retailers have made their wrapping paper recyclable, but newspaper and brown paper are easy to recycle, and natural twine is much better than non recyclable sticky tape.

‘Thankfully, many UK retailers have stopped selling crackers containing plastic toys, ditched the glitter that can make recycling a challenge, and in some cases, even switched to using recycled paper.

‘Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends but its true meaning can get lost in a blizzard of panic buying, over consumption and waste. This year, as the cost of living crisis bites, you can find some tips on how to spend less, waste less and still enjoy the festivities in a green way on our blog.’

So, as you ferry the emergency chairs back to their rightful homes, reflecting on the unfeasibly large mounds of festive trash left over, why not make it your mission to reduce waste from wrapping paper, packaging, glass jars and bottles and leftover food during the Christmas period?


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