Christmas food waste tradition is best left in the past

Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Team at the Forest of Dean District Council is asking residents to put a stop to the traditional waste of food over the whole Christmas period, especially on the big day itself.

Estimates show that the equivalent of 4.2m Christmas dinners will be thrown away in the UK comprising of 11.3m roast potatoes, 7.9m slices of turkey, 11.9m carrots, 17.2m sprouts, 7.9m cups of stuffing plus 7.1m pigs in blankets. 

Councillor Sue Coakley, Chair of the Joint Waste Committee, said: ‘It is staggering the amount of food that gets wasted at this time of year.  One in five of us admits to buying foods that we don’t like in order to serve up the ‘perfect’ traditional Christmas dinner so it is of little surprise that part of the meal will go uneaten.  And with ten percent of all food on the plate making its way to the bin, this is one Christmas tradition that really is best left in the past.’

‘And it’s not just the amount of food waste which is significant.  This year we want to highlight the amount of resources which are lost when food ends up in the bin.  Each step of food production requires a high input of energy – whether this is used to transport the food, freeze or eventually cook it.  All this energy is invested before our food even reaches the dinner plate and has a major impact on our environment – even more so when the food goes to waste. These issues are not necessarily at the forefront of people’s thinking when they throw away food which is why we are asking everyone to plan ahead and buy only what they need to reduce waste.’

Councillor Chris McFarling, Cabinet Member for the Environment at the Forest of Dean District Council said: ‘Taking some simple steps to plan ahead and buying only what’s needed are just some ways that food waste can be avoided.  Not only is this better for the environment but usually kinder on the pocket too given that the average UK household still wastes an incredible £470 worth of edible food each year.’

To help residents plan their Christmas and stop the food waste ‘tradition,’ there are a number of useful hints and tips on the Recycle for Gloucestershire website, including storage ideas to prolong leftovers, festive recipes and a portion planner to help work out how much food is actually needed in the first place.

Some food waste is unavoidable and inedible.  Instead of putting this in the bin, Gloucestershire residents are reminded that all six local authorities in the county offer a food waste recycling service from the kerbside.

Find out more at


  • 01594 810000