​Brits Will Waste 55 Million Platefuls Of Food This Christmas

We all think we're doing pretty well at recycling and keeping our global footprint down - walking a few extra steps to go to the separate plastics bin after enjoying your lunchtime bottle of Coke, that kind of thing.

But realistically, as a world, we are actually really shit. And no other time does that become more apparent than at Christmas, when living rooms get covered in reams of discarded wrapping paper and excess food gets lobbed in the bin - so much excess food, in fact, that it could feed the homeless in the UK... 179 times over.

Credit: PA

According to a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by OnePoll.com, Brits will throw out 54 million platefuls of food over Christmas. Considering around 307,000 people are sleeping rough or living in temporary housing at the moment - as estimated by charity Shelter - that means we could feed the entire homeless population in the UK, and then do that all over again 178 times.

The same survey also found that eight in 10 people don't even bother to try and justify the huge amount of waste they produce at Christmas. On top of that, six in 10 apparently don't even feel guilty about what they throw away over the busy festive period - despite the fact that so many are going without.

The study also found that Brits will throw out 108 million rolls of wrapping paper and use 189m batteries over Christmas.

A spokesman for GP Batteries, which commissioned the research, said: "Christmas is a time of great celebration, but this can result in a huge amount of waste - many of which we don't always do the right things with.

"And it seems many don't worry about the amount of their Christmas produce that ends up in the bin, despite the nation as a whole trying to do all we can to cut down on waste at other times of the year.

"Reusing things, such as Christmas Cards or wrapping paper, or using rechargeable batteries are small things to most people but will drastically reduce the amount you end up throwing away."

Credit: PA

Research by the London Cleaning System last year showed that approximately 2m turkeys, 74m mince pies and a whopping 17.2m Brussel sprouts are chucked away every Christmas.

On top of that 250 tonnes of Christmas trees are thrown away when they could be used for compost and one billion cards also end up in the bin when they could be recycled. The 300,000 tonnes of card packaging used over the festive period is enough to cover Big Ben - nearly 260,000 times - and recycling that card would effectively save enough energy to light 340 Blackpool illuminations.

We get it, at Christmas you don't always want to be eating turkey for weeks on end - but there's always the option to buy a smaller bird or just a crown if you don't think you'll get through it all. And, sure, recycling stuff can seem like a bit of a ballache when you're all lethargic and sleepy from the festive period, but if you don't recycle, just think where it'll end up instead...

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Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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