It seems that Christmas celebrations get bigger every year, with more and more money being spent by families on presents and celebrations. In fact, a recent survey, as cited by This is Money, found that people in the UK spend double the amount on Christmas presents than their European counterparts, with £300-£500 being spent on presents alone this year.
Aside from the financial strains that the season can put on us, there are also other consequences during Christmas that people don’t tend to consider – such as the impact on the environment.
According to a recent graphic, published by Business Waste.Trade, homes across the UK end up throwing out around 230,000 tonnes of food during the Christmas period, equating to either 74 million mince pies, or two million turkeys, at the cost of around £275 million.
And this is despite us consuming up to 80 per cent more food than the rest of the year! A study by the University of Manchester recently discovered that the combined effort of cooking our Christmas dinners produces the same carbon footprint of a single car travelling around the world 6,000 times.
For those who need an extra helping hand this Christmas, Love Food Hate Waste has just published this great article on how to save money (and waste) on food and drink over the Christmas period.
But what about wrapping and packaging?
Of course another great expenditure over Christmas is all the gift wrap and packaging that we reel off in the time leading up to the big day. This year alone, we're expected to go through more than 227,000 miles of wrapping paper, which is enough to wrap around the entire island of Jersey. In addition to this, if we placed all our Christmas cards alongside one another – there would be enough to stretch around the world no less than 1,000 times.
When you think about how much energy it takes to produce cards and wrapping paper, recycling is all-important, especially when you consider that just 1kg of wrapping paper emits no less than 3.5kg of carbon dioxide during its production.
For those who want to recycle their Christmas cards however, the good news is that television presenter Julia Bradbury is the backer of this year’s M&S Christmas Card Recycling Scheme, which plans to collect and recycle more than 6 million cards – planting 6,000 trees in the process.
Speaking about the campaign, Julia said, "After an over-indulgent Christmas there’s nothing better than a bracing winter walk to see in the new year, and rediscover all our countryside has to offer - from stunning woodland, to the fascinating wildlife that calls it home.
“What’s great, is that by clearing out your Christmas cards and recycling them at M&S, we can help the Woodland Trust plant thousands more trees, that will become lush, vibrant woods for future generations to explore and enjoy."
You can find out more about which wrapping papers are the most sustainable, and which types you can recycle right here.
Merry Christmas & happy recycling!
How to keep the environment in mind this Christmas
24 December 2015