It has been estimated people in Britain spend £19 ($25) on average on Christmas presents, with many simply throwing away their wrapping paper, packaging and old Christmas cards. This results in millions of tons of waste during the festive season. One family from the UK found themselves among mountains of litter in their living room after unwrapping Christmas presents.
This article first appeared in the Daily Mail.
Doug and Julia Shields who live near Bristol in southwestern England, and have four sons, found themselves with 4 cardboard boxes, 15 glass bottles, 12 plastic containers, two cans and two bin bags full of wrapping paper after their celebrations.
The family was astonished to see how much garbage they were left with after Christmas.
Mr. Shields explained: “We’re staggered by the amount of rubbish, it’s quite embarrassing and it looks really indulgent. We had budgets of £150 for gifts for each of our boys but it looks like we’ve spoilt them rotten – although it doesn’t feel like we’ve done that. It’s because something will come within a box, and when you open the box, there’s a box within the box.”
“All this packaging is unnecessary and it’s certainly made us realize how much rubbish you create… the bubble wrap that comes within the boxes but can’t be recycled is certainly unnecessary. And sometimes the boxes are huge for what you order as well.”
Doug Shields found himself throwing away six sheets of bubble wrap after the holiday
Doug, Julia and their sons who are aged between four and 14 on Christmas Eve
The father-of-four believes that not everything can be recycled and that a lot of the waste is from food packaging.
It has been estimated that 300,000 tons of card packaging and 225,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away in Britain after the festive season.
The Shields family spent £60 ($80) on alcohol and £275 ($370) on food for Christmas. Their dinner consisted of roasted turkey with seven kinds of vegetables.
Doug, who is a PR consultant, added: “I’m pleased that most of it is recyclable but it is alarming looking at it all and realizing that there is a fair chunk of it that isn’t. We’re pretty good at recycling – the boys are great with helping out. What’s ridiculous is the packaging within the packaging.”
“We ordered a toy dinosaur that came in a box which was within a box. But then you open that packet, and you have the plastic container that the dinosaur sits in. That to me is a complete waste.”