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biffa trucks

New research shows Brits are dreaming of a green Christmas

20 December 2018

New research shows Brits are dreaming of a green Christmas

  • 70% of Brits are going green this Christmas thanks to increased awareness of global issues
  • 277,000 miles of wrapping paper will go to waste over the holidays
  • 87% of us want to see brands take more producer responsibility

Almost 70 per cent of Brits will have a greener Christmas this year, thanks to the media spotlight being shone on global recycling issues throughout this year.

A survey from leading waste management provider, Biffa, has shown that 68 per cent of Brits will up their recycling efforts this festive season by buying gifts made from recycled materials or containing less plastic packaging.

The Christmas period is set to see a whole lot go to waste in the UK, including around 277,000 miles of wrapping paper, up to 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies[i].

A quarter of households also predict they will throw away at least five bags of waste this Christmas, which 95 per cent vow to segregate so it can be disposed of responsibly.

The researched showed that the uplift in media mentions of recycling and the subsequent public awareness has had a noticeable impact on our behaviour in the UK, with 65 per cent citing it as the reason for their increased conscience this Christmas. 40 per cent said they felt guilty about how much waste our festivities will produce.

A demand for greater retailer and brand responsibility has also been revealed, with 87 per cent of us wanting to see retailers reduce product packaging in the New Year in order to tackle the issue at the source and prevent the creation of unnecessary, hard to dispose of waste.

Those not planning to go green this Christmas have cited time constraints, being confused about what to recycle, and the sheer volume of rubbish created as reasons to chuck everything into general waste.

Despite the nation’s best efforts, the research revealed that there is still likely to be high quantities of food thrown in the bin this Christmas.

In fact, over half of Brits plan to dispose of their leftover Christmas dinners properly for collection, but almost a fifth (16 per cent) said that they wouldn’t bother despite having a separate food bin at home.

If disposed of correctly, food waste can be anaerobically digested and used to power our homes – making it an invaluable energy source in the UK.

Fran Morrissy, spokesperson for Biffa says, “We’re pleased to see an increase in awareness of recycling, especially over the Christmas period when we generate far more waste than usual per household. The media’s attention to our nation’s environmental impact has done a tremendous job at highlighting to consumers the very real and dangerous consequences of not disposing of waste correctly.

“We’ve welcomed the initiatives set out in the Government’s Resources & Waste Strategy, specifically the firmer regulations on producer responsibility and a significant investment in the waste infrastructure in the UK – addressing the issues we’re facing, not only here at home, but globally.

“While we’re pleased to see the majority of people looking to up their efforts this Christmas, Biffa would like to see everyone make it their New Year’s resolution to fully segregate their waste for collection and help us to protect our environment.”


For advice on all types of waste recycling and how to go green this Christmas, visit



  • 1,000 people surveyed

How many bags of rubbish do you expect to throw away this Christmas?

Answer: 1-4


Answer: 5-11


Will you segregate your waste over Christmas?





What are the main reasons you may recycle less at Christmas?

To save time


Unsure about what to recycle


Do you adequately separate your food waste, such as turkey carcasses, vegetable peelings etc, into the correct food waste bins?





I would but I don’t have a separate bin


Following this year’s focus on the environmental damage unrecycled plastics cause and many articles in the mainstream media, has recycling become more of a priority for your household?







Would you consider having a ‘greener Christmas’ by buying items which use less packaging or are made from recycled materials?





Do you think retailers should take more responsibility to ensure less packaging is used in the products they sell, to help make Christmas ‘greener’?






Notes to Editors:

Biffa is a leading UK-based integrated waste management business. The Group operates across the breadth of the waste management value chain, including the collection, treatment, processing and disposal of waste and recyclable materials, as well the production and sale of energy derived from waste and the sale of recovered commodities such as paper, glass, metals and plastic. Biffa’s customer base for these services includes local authorities (which includes the collection of waste from households), large corporates and SMEs, and purchasers of end-product commodities and energy. Across its operations, the Group handled approximately 7.8mT and treated approximately 3.7mT of waste in Fiscal Year 2018. The Group’s services are organised across four operating divisions: Industrial & Commercial; Municipal; Resource Recovery & Treatment (RR&T); and Energy employing c.7,900 people. In Fiscal Year 2018, the Group’s total revenue was £1076.7 million and its underlying EBITDA was £150.0 million. Biffa trades on the London Stock Exchange’s main market for listed securities under the ticker “BIFF”.

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