One of our favourite things about Christmas is the food and with household food purchases increasing 20% on average in December across the UK, I think many would agree with us! However, we also see a significant increase in waste collected in Rother after Christmas Day, and a good proportion of this is discarded food. Considering the valuable resources that have gone into producing that food and the money that we’ve spent on it, it’s time to give our festive food habits a sustainable grilling…
Planning meals ahead of time then making and sticking to a shopping list is a great way to ensure we only buy the food we need any time of year, and Christmas need not be any different. BBC Good Food has a Christmas portion planner to help prevent going overboard on the big day itself, and if your family traditions involve indulging in the extra special snacks, treats and desserts that become available this time of year, consider if reducing the portion sizes of main meals will help to limit your left overs and your budget. Buying loose fruit and veg helps to take only what you need and reduces plastic packaging waste too (will your family really demolish a kilo of sprouts or will a handful do?) and it can work out cheaper to buy loose (and less), although this isn’t always the case so do check prices on the shelves.
For some of us, getting creative with leftovers may be part of the holiday fun and if you need some inspiration for Boxing Day and beyond to ensure yours are enjoyed and not binned our waste team have collated a few resources with some great recipe ideas: Love Christmas hate waste.
For a truly sustainable dinner table, spare a thought for what you’re putting on it, where it’s coming from and how it’s been produced. The climate impact of farming meat is roughly the same as every car, van, lorry and aeroplane combined every year(!) so the resounding message from Climate Experts is eating less meat and fish is one of the best ways we can help the planet. This doesn’t necessarily mean going vegetarian – a good start is to simply reduce the proportion of meat to veg on our plates. Sustainably produced and local meat, fish and veggies will often cost a little more than those we find in supermarkets, but if we “buy less, buy better” we’ll end up with less waste and a tasty festive feast with a smaller carbon footprint. Not to mention if you Love Local this Christmas your friendly neighbourhood butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer will be pleased as Christmas Punch.