Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy is urging people across England to try and reduce their packaging waste over Christmas, after figures showed a rise in the amount of household rubbish generated nationally in the first year of the pandemic.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs data shows Burnley Borough Council collected an average of 370.3kg of household waste per person from homes in the area in 2020-21 – the equivalent of around 93 family-sized turkeys each.
That was up from 325.6kg the year before, and the most waste per person since comparable records began in 2008-09.
But residents were less wasteful than the average person across England last year – 420.6kg of household waste was collected per person nationally on average, compared to 407.3kg in 2019-20.
Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, said over 100,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated on Christmas Day across Great Britain, and 1 billion cards are thrown away.
She added: “We all have a part to play in making the changes that will limit global warming and stem the rising tide of plastic that is choking our oceans.
"We must do better.
"Think about what you buy, what you consume and what you will do with the packaging waste that you create and make the right choices for our environment.”
Around 33% of household waste in Burnley was sent for reuse, recycling or composting in 2020-21 – up from 32% in 2019-20.
Greenpeace said the considerable rise in national household waste is worrying, and that the figures likely underestimate the total volume of plastic thrown away.
Nina Schrank, senior campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said the coronavirus pandemic will have contributed, with people receiving more deliveries and disposing of more waste at home – but said too much packaging is sold already.
She added: "At Christmas time we become even more aware of our rubbish as we pile up packaging and wrapping when we're preparing food and opening presents.
"Seeing mountains of waste, especially masses of plastic, makes us feel very aware of the environmental impacts of our purchases."
Resources and Waste Minister Jo Churchill said local authorities faced unprecedented challenges to keep rubbish collections running during the pandemic
She added: “Recycling and reusing more of our waste is key to helping us protect the environment for future generations.
“Despite a highly challenging year, less than 8% of local authority collected waste went to landfill, while food waste recycling from households increased by 12%."