The mega mountain of Jubilee waste
A brilliant Platinum Jubilee has just been enjoyed, with iconic moments that will long live in memory – Paddington takes tea at the Palace (now we know what has been in ‘the’ handbag all these years); the Royal Family on the balcony; the wonderful fly past with Typhoons spelling out ‘70’; incredible staging at the Party at the Palace; the colour and pomp and ceremony, and whacky fun!
But when all those crowds disperse, all the street parties are tidied, our back gardens, pub gardens and local parks are cleared, have you thought about the waste generated?
One British waste and recycling company has been crunching the numbers, and expects the country to get through enough beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks for the empties to stretch right around the planet!
And according to waste collection company Divert.co.uk, that is just the tip of the iceberg, with enormous amounts of rubbish and food waste being generated over the long Bank Holiday weekend.
‘This is one of the most extraordinary events in this country’s recent history,’ said Divert.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, ‘and it is right that we forget our troubles for a few days to party hard for the Queen’s jubilee.
‘But that means Britain’s rubbish collectors are going to be working as hard as ever to keep the streets clean for the Queen!’
If the last two major royal events (the marriages of William and Kate, and Harry and Meghan) and the Euro 2020 football finals are anything to go by, then Brits are set to consume record amounts of booze and party food.
During just one football match during last year’s Euro finals (England’s 4-0 win over Ukraine), it is estimated that 23,000,000 pints of beer were drunk in British homes alone.
To put that in perspective, those 23 million pints in tins and bottles laid end to end would have reached from London to the North Pole!
And that is before we factor in the wine drinkers. Retailers estimated some 4,000,000 bottles of bubbly alone were sunk during Harry and Meghan’s wedding, so it is safe to say that the grand total for all wines would be in the ballpark of 10 million.
Laid end to end, those empties would reach from London to Istanbul!
And those estimates were based on events which lasted for single days. With the Jubilee holiday having lasted a glorious four days, Divert.co.uk expects those levels of waste to be easily beaten.
Then there are the soft drinks for the millions of kids and non-drinkers who also celebrated.
That being the case, we fully expect that Britain’s empties will stretch 40,000 kilometres (24,000 miles), which is the circumference of the world.
Mark Hall continued, ‘All we ask is that you recycle all your empties sensibly. We want this party to have been as green as possible.’
The Jubilee celebration wasn’t all about drinking ourselves silly – there were also street parties and picnics and home barbecues marking the Queen’s amazing 70 year reign.
That means there is no end of food waste, food wrappers, and mile upon mile of plastic jubilee flag bunting.
Food waste is likely to surpass that seen over the average Christmas week, Divert.co.uk’s Mark Hall fears. That is over seven million tonnes of food.
‘There is only so much coronation chicken and roast swan you can eat!’ he says. ‘So, make sure you recycle your waste food sensibly.’
As for more festive waste: one company specialising in party supplies says that they were in danger of running out of Union Flag bunting, plastic table cloths, hats, fancy dress outfits, and other favours.
While – unsurprisingly – there is not a great deal of official data on the sales of flag bunting and other ephemera, Divert.co.uk expects that the amount of bunting going into bins could easily rival the 40,000 kilometres of empty bottles and cans.
‘And the trouble with that it that much of it is single use plastic,’ said Mark. ‘And that means dumping millions of Union Flags in landfill. Hardly the patriotic image that we want to see.’
Why not, then, keep hold of your used bunting and flags for the next big British celebration to come along, Divert.co.uk suggests.
‘There is the World Cup coming up later this year, and you never know…’ Mark concluded.
I’m off to finish up the Victoria Sandwich – that is definitely not going to waste!