Throwing Away Christmas Rubbish Will Cost £78m

Up to two million tonnes could end up in landfill

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Residents are being urged to recycle as much as possible this week as new figures revealing the £78 million cost of festive rubbish are published today.

According to new analysis by the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, householders will throw away an estimated three million tonnes of rubbish over the festive season.

Depending on how much people recycle, up to two million tonnes could end up in landfill. Councils pay £40 in tax to the government for every tonne of rubbish they landfill, potentially leaving council taxpayers with a bill of £78 million for getting rid of Christmas waste.

Councils are urging residents to recycle as much rubbish as possible so that more can be spent on other frontline services like care for the elderly. People are being urged to freeze their Christmas leftovers, compost their fruit and vegetable peelings and make sure cans, bottles and paper are put in the recycling.

Council refuse collectors will be working weekends and holidays over the festive season to make sure waste is not left to fester. The rubbish they will collect over Christmas includes:
• 230,000 tonnes of festive food
• 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging
• 20,000 tonnes of Christmas cards
• 12,000 tonnes of Christmas trees
• 10,000 tonnes of Christmas wrapping paper
• 3,000 tonnes of aluminium foil used to wrap Christmas turkeys

Cllr Gary Porter, Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, said, "Christmas is a time for having fun and relaxing with the family but all the tin foil from the turkeys, plastic toy packaging and wilting Christmas trees can create lots of rubbish. By the end of the holidays, many households could face a mountain of waste, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

"It's important that people don’t buy more food than they really need and try to throw less away in the first place. People can help by recycling as much as possible. The more people recycle, the less money councils have to pay in landfill tax and the more they can spend on other services, like care for the elderly.

"Toy makers, food companies and supermarkets should be doing their bit by cutting unnecessary packaging so less rubbish ends up in people’s bins in the first place. If the producers of rubbish were made more responsible for what they produce, householders would be able to cut what they throw away and save council taxpayers’ money.

"All those presents, beer cans and food wrappers quickly add up. Freezing leftovers, composting and recycling are all simple ways people can help the environment and save themselves money. People are already keen to recycle their rubbish and these figures remind us why it’s important to do even more."

December 30, 2009