Christmas is a time when we all like to celebrate with lots of scrumptious food and drink. Did you know that every year, here in the UK, we throw away 5 million Christmas puddings, 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies? Christmas excess comes at a cost – not just to your pocket and your waistline but also to the environment! As consumers, we are all becoming more concerned about our environmental impact.
At Christmas, we tend to buy more than we need because we have a fear of running out. Sometimes we don’t know what to do with leftovers so we end up throwing food away. This increases the amount of greenhouse gases produced which raises the temperature of our planet impacting on our future and that of our children. It might not seem like it but throwing food in the bin can affect climate change.
So here are some ideas to help you reduce your Christmas waste:
· Clear out your freezer at the beginning of the festive season to make space for leftovers.
· Plan your meals to enjoy over the holiday. Make a list and stick to it! Only buy what you need. If nobody likes sprouts, don’t buy them! 1 in 7 consumers admit to buying more food than they need. Reduce your stress levels and save money at the same time.
· If you do buy food ‘just-in-case’, check the dates. Food can be eaten up to the end of the ‘use by’ date. The ‘best before’ date is just a guide: food may lose some flavour and texture after this date but can still be eaten. There is one exception: never eat eggs after the ‘best before’ date.
· Families often get together and share a meal. Consider organising a ‘bring-and-share’ meal where each person contributes a dish. This prevents one person from buying too much food. It’s a great way to share leftovers and encourages everyone to avoid waste, particularly if you insist on people taking home a goody bag!
· Storing food carefully can give your food days, weeks or months of extra life. Keep your fridge below 5⁰C and avoid overcrowding. Wrap food before storing in the freezer and label with the name of the food and the date.
· Love your leftovers. They last for 2 days in the fridge or can be frozen to eat another time. Any leftover fresh produce can be used in tasty soups and snacks. Be creative: make up new recipes or mix-and-match with other dishes.
So, eat, drink and be merry this Christmas (but not in a wasteful way!).
Greening Wymondham wishes you all the very best for the festive season.