Christmas ‘food waste tradition’ is best left in the past

Release date: 7 December 2018

Cotswold District Council and Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Team are 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: 11.3m roast potatoes; 7.9m slices of turkey; 11.9m carrots; 17.2m sprouts; 7.9m cups of stuffing; and 7.1m pigs in blankets. 

Councillor Sue Coakley, Cabinet Member for Environment at Cotswold District Council and Chair of the County’s Joint Waste Committee, says,

“The amount of food that gets wasted at this time of year is staggering.  One in five of us admits to buying foods that we don’t like 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 should be consigned to history.’

“And it’s not just the amount of food waste which is significant.  This year we want to highlight the amount of resources that are lost when food ends up in the bin.  Each step of food production requires a high input of energy to transport the food, perhaps freeze it and eventually cook it.  All this energy is used up before food even reaches our dinner plates and this 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 and this is why we are urging everyone to plan ahead and buy only what’s needed. Not only is this better for the environment but it is 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, however, is unavoidable and inedible.  Instead of putting this in the bin, residents are reminded that CDC offers a food waste recycling service from the kerbside.

Find out more at .



The Joint Waste Partnership provides waste and recycling services on behalf of Cotswold District Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, , Forest of Dean District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council and Gloucestershire County Council. 

Contact: Marsha Llewellyn, Environmental Promotions Officer, Joint Waste Team, Forest of Dean District Council, Council Offices, High St, Coleford GL16 8HG.  Tel: 01594 812428.  Email:

Cotswold District Council
Trinity Road