St Patrick’s Day Waste – We’ve Reached The ‘Pint’ Of No Return

St Patricks Day green pint

We all love St Patrick’s day. Who doesn’t want to spend the 17th March at the pub with close friends while singing along to the Pogues with a pint of Guinness in hand.

Like all holidays, the excessive amount of material consumption involved can have a noticeable impact on the local environment. 

But that doesn’t mean we should skip the celebration in favour of a night at home. By preparing for the event in advance we can take steps to minimise pollution and keep our streets clean. 

Throughout the years, St. Patrick’s Day has turned into a commercial celebration promoting Irish heritage and parties throughout the United States and the United Kingdom.

While the holiday is nationally recognised in the United States, it has not become an official holiday in the U.K. though there are many celebrations in both Ireland and England to mark the event.

St Patrick’s Day Facts and Statistics

Here are some figures for St Patrick’s Day recycling, pollution and environmental statistics.

  • In recent years St Patrick’s Day has become more and more recreational. On the day it is estimated that roughly 13 million pints of Guinness are drunk each year. That’s almost enough to fill 3 Olympic-sized sized swimming pools (or keep a Northern Englishman busy for a weekend).

  • During St Patrick’s Day in 2019, a whopping £5.9 billion was spent on events during the celebrations in the United Kingdom. This has prompted retailers to offer more material goods for sale leading up to the holiday, many of which are non-biodegradable single-use items. 

  • Roughly 13,500 plastic cups and bottles are disposed of during St Patrick’s in the UK.

  • 2.45 million pieces of rubbish are thrown on the street compared to the average daily 2.25 million. (that’s enough to fill 5 football stadiums in just 3 days).

  • Internationally, over 1 billion cigarette buts are reported to have been thrown on the ground. Why Quit

  • In America, St Patrick ranks as the 7th most popular holiday for greeting card sales. More than 7 million are reportedly sold each year. Market Place

  • Americans in Chicago are lucky to witness an iconic spectacle each year. The local water waste treatment board pour dye into the river each year turning the water green. The tradition started back in 1962 and even though it has been criticised, environmental surveyors have reported that the dye is completely harmless and poses zero risk. 

How do Brits, Irish and Americans plan on celebrating St Patrick’s Day? – Figures and Data

  • 77% of those under the age of 30 celebrated St Patrick’s

  • In 2020, this number fell to 55% due to the pandemic

  • It was reported that 58% of retailers intended to purchase green clothing leading up to the holiday R Assist.

  • In 2020, 33% of the British public answered that they would be celebrating St Patrick’s Day, reported by LincolnshireToday.

  • In 2021, 49% of adults answered “yes”, when asked if they intended to celebrate the holiday as shown by NRF.

What Can I Recycle After St Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that typically involves a lot of decorations, food, and drinks. Here are some items that you can recycle during St. Patrick’s Day:

Green glass bottles: If you have green glass bottles from beer or other drinks, they can be recycled.

Aluminium cans: Aluminium cans from soda, beer, or other drinks can be recycled.

Cardboard boxes: If you have cardboard boxes from decorations or packaging, they can be recycled.

Paper products: Paper products like napkins, plates, and cups can be recycled if they are clean and free of food and liquid.

Plastic bottles: Plastic bottles from drinks or decorations can be recycled.

Metal decorations: Metal decorations like shamrocks or other St. Patrick’s Day symbols can be recycled.

Wine corks: If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a glass of wine, the cork can be recycled.

Green wrapping paper: If you receive a gift wrapped in green paper, it can be recycled.

Remember to check your local recycling guidelines to make sure you are recycling correctly.

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