During the Christmas holidays, 2 million turkeys, 5 million Christmas puddings, and 74 million mince pies get disposed while still edible, causing almost 270,000 tons of food waste.
One of the main elements that contributes to the celebrations of Christmas is all the scrumptious and festive food. From meat to vegetables to all the yummy pastries, cookies, and chocolate.
Unfortunately, food waste has turned into a growing epidemic with some of the reasons deriving from the food production chain but also from us as individuals. Although food production requires institutional change, we can do our share to prevent waste. Did you know that 30 per cent of greenhouse gases come from food production of which 60 per cent is accounted by meat?
So, what can you do to keep your carbon emissions and food wastage low over the festive holidays?
Be prepared for your shopping trip
We all know that when you’re going shopping it’s never a good idea to go before you have something to eat, as this tends to materialise into several items you don’t need. Buy only what you will need. A shopping list with the key ingredients or items you will need is always a good way to start as this keeps our focus on what is needed and helps budgeting better.
Right on your doorstep you may have greengrocers and butchers, offering competitive pricing for great quality vegetables and meat. Some also provide you with the option to pre-order that extra special item for your meals.
Local grocers and butchers usually produce their own crops and meat, meaning its fresher and much better value for money compared to store-bought.
Buying local can also help you stick to your budget as you won’t be going around several aisles picking things that appeal to you despite not being on your list. Shopping local also has a great impact on the environment. When you shop local from small businesses and farmers not only you are supporting their business, but there are also less carbon emissions involved, less travel and products tend to be much fresher.
Explore the Go Green Durham website, there is information on small and local businesses and where to find them.
Quality not Quantity
A phrase used a lot is “quality not quantity” and the phrase should not be forgotten about when it comes to your dinner. Firstly, make sure you only buy what you will eat. Most of the time, food waste comes from over preparing. It can be hard when everyone eats different amounts and different things, but make sure you prepare, whether it be asking questions on what everyone likes, or managing portion sizes. If you struggle to figure out portion sizes, visit Love Food Hate Waste and try out their portion calculator.
Another point to this, make sure you’re enjoying the food that you’re eating. Everyone loves a Christmas dinner, it comes with no surprise that if you enjoy your food, you’ll eat more, so when it comes to avoiding waste, shop around for the best quality food you can find that is suitable for your budget of course. You could be pleasantly surprised on how affordable your local small businesses may be.
Get creative with leftovers
No matter how much you plan and prepare, sometimes leftovers just can not be avoided. Christmas day is a big day, and it’s the one day a year when its probably acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast, so a lot of people like to take advantage of that and snack throughout the day. Because of this, many people find it difficult to finish a dinner, but that doesn’t mean it has to go to waste. There are many recipes online that combine the leftovers from your dinner to make some great dishes to share with people around you or keep to yourself throughout boxing day and the new year.
It can be time consuming to search the web for recipes whether vegetarian or meat based, so we pulled together some information you may find useful.
For your left over veggie peels or vegetables try making your own vegetable stock by visiting Tasty.co, great to use for any meals in future.
BBC good food have great recipes too, like a Next Level Turkey and Ham Pie. And it’s not commonly thought about to reuse roasties, but they also have this great recipe for Leftover Christmas lunch patties with roasties and other veg.
And finally, Love Food Hate Waste share their Cranberry and Turkey pastry recipe. Delicious.
But of course, there’s the classic turkey sandwich if you like something simple.
With this, we want to wish you a Green Merry Christmas and a happy New Year