Ho ho ho! Britain’s most wasteful meal is coming again
Families the length and breadth of the country will be tucking into a slap-up dinner on Christmas Day, then throw around 150,000 tonnes of it into the bin.
Christmas dinner is the most wasteful meal of the year, and we need to think twice about the sheer amount of waste it produces says a top waste and recycling company.
Maybe we should even think about banning Christmas dinner altogether – that’s the tongue-in-cheek suggestion of Yorkshire-based Business Waste.
“Why not? We’ve already been labelled Scrooges for criticising the cheap plastic tat in Christmas crackers,” says BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall, “We might as well make a stand on this as well.”
So you’re after our Christmas Dinners now?
Well, yes and no. We’re going after the huge portion sizes that nobody eats and ends up getting thrown in the bin.
“The problem is this,” says Mark ‘Ebenezer’ Hall, donning his Scrooge-est top hat and black cape, “We all buy far too much food at Christmas, and a large proportion of it ends up wasted.”
Here, based on our own research, is what the average person tucks away on Christmas Day:
- 7 pigs in blankets
- 2 portions of turkey
- 3 slices of gammon ham
- 5 roast potatoes
- Christmas pudding and brandy butter
- 2 large chocolate bars
- 1 fruit cake (large)
- 1 brussels sprout (with 29 going in the bin)
That’s a lot of grub, and to make sure everybody gets fed, we – to quote the late, great Dale Winton – go wild in the aisles and buy up to twice as much as is absolutely necessary.
And the biggest problem, Business Waste says, is that we are no longer a nation that makes leftovers last several days – we serve a meal and scrape what hasn’t been eaten straight into the bin.
“And that’s what we’re trying to prevent,” says Hall, “Britain wastes up to a third of its food*, and Christmas dinner is the most wasteful meal of them all.”
The figures show that the UK wastes food worth £15 billion every year. And it’s not just the 7 million tonnes of annual food waste – it’s the effort and resources of having to lug it up and down the country and around the world that’s wasted too.
Won’t anybody think about the refuse collectors?
Once you’ve thrown that food in the bin, somebody – your poor, overworked refuse collector – is going to have to take it away for you.
“People don’t realise how heavy food waste is,” says Mark Hall from BusinessWaste.co.uk, “but your average bin-lifter can tell you. It’s really heavy.”
We’ve made a more-than-generous calculation based on annual food waste figures, and have come up with the figure of 150,000 tonnes of food waste will be binned during Christmas week.
It’s not just the human effort, either. The extra food waste means extra journeys for bin lorries to the weighbridge and final disposal, and that’s a significant contribution to emissions and wasted resources.
“And that’s just the disposal chain,” says Mark. “Think of the effort that got that food to you in the first place. Wasted.”
A bit of Christmas redemption, just like Ebenezer Scrooge
BusinessWaste.co.uk isn’t out to wreck your family’s Christmas. We just want you think how you can celebrate this special time of year sensibly and in a sustainable manner.
“There’s no need to panic buy before Christmas,” says Mark Hall, “And there’s absolutely no need to ‘double up’ on your usual purchases ‘just in case we run out’.
“Here’s a tip – you’re not going to run out. You’ve bought too much already.”
We think that you should sit down and plan your Christmas meals, and try your best to only buy enough for what you need.
“Think of the money you’ll be saving if you do that,” says Mark, “It’ll be enough to bring a tear to old Ebenezer’s eye.”
“And if you want to redeem yourself, Scrooge-style – why not buy for your local food bank at the same time? That’s the true meaning of Christmas.”
See? We’re not killjoys, after all.
* WRAP restates UK food waste figures to support united global action (May 2018)