how to reduce food waste at christmas

Food Waste

In the UK at Christmas we produce a huge amount of food waste. ReFood say that “Wasted Christmas Brussel Sprouts alone could power a Home for 3 years”

Food waste has become such an issue in the UK. It’s hard to believe but more than 8 million families in the UK struggle to put food on the table – and yet, around 10 million tonnes (household and commercial / retail) of food waste ends up in landfills each year.

It has been estimated that the average family in the UK wastes nearly £60 a month by throwing food away.

If we could all reduce our food waste it would not only save us money but also reduce unnecessary packaging waste. If we all make a few minor changes and start using up the food we buy, together we can make a significant difference. 

Isn’t it time we started to really try and tackle this problem?

10 Facts About Food Waste

  1. It’s estimated that 30 – 50% of food produced for human consumption is wasted globally every year.
  2. 25% of the world’s fresh water supply is used to grow food that is never eaten.
  3. Food waste in Europe alone could feed 200 million hungry people
  4. Food waste generates 3.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which accelerates global climate change
  5. 20% to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables are rejected by the supermarkets because they don’t reach their high cosmetic standards
  6. The average family in Great Britain wastes nearly £60 a month by throwing away food, in some cases almost an entire meal a day. A family with children waste approximately £700 a year on unused food.
  7. 18 – 20 million tons of food is wasted annually in the UK.
  8. An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards.
  9. Most people will admit to cooking or preparing too much food which results in it being wasted. Careful planning would eliminate this risk.
  10. Each year around 4.2 million Christmas dinners are wasted across the United Kingdom, according to Unilever. The figure is the equivalent to 263,000 turkeys; 7.5 million mince pies; 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding; 17.2 million Brussels sprouts; 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes.

10 Simple Ways Cut Down on Food Waste

  1. Plan Ahead – Plan your meals in advance, including how you can use leftovers.  Make a shopping list, I love adding things to my shopping list using my Google Echo. Stick to it when you go shopping.  Why not download my free “Weekly Meal Planner”
  2. Fridge temperature – set your fridge at the correct temperature.  Keep your fridge between 1-5°C – this helps you get the best from your food. If your fridge doesn’t indicate actual temperature, think about investing in a fridge thermometer.
  3. Store Food Correctly – Bread should be kept in a cool dark place like a bread bin or cupboard), bananas, pineapples, potatoes and onions should never be put in the fridge.  Make sure you have plenty of Beeswax or Soy Wax cloths to wrap things like cheese. Glass jars are perfect for storing leftover food in the fridge or you can just pop it on a saucer with a bowl over the top.
  4. Keep your vegetables fresh – Keep the stems of vegetables such as broccoli, celery and asparagus in water to help them stay fresh and crisp.
  5. Freeze fruit and veg – Freeze vegetables fresh fruit and veg that you can’t use in time.  Some fruit and veg will lose their texture when frozen but they will be fine pureed or stewed. 
  6. Revive past-it bread – You can put bread rolls in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up again. You can also make stale bread into breadcrumbs – either mix them with herbs and onions as a stuffing for chicken or to top baked fish or freeze the breadcrumbs for later use. Bread freezes well but place in a freezer bag for better results rather than just freezing it in the packaging it comes in.
  7. Be creative with leftovers – one of my favourite ways to use up leftover vegetables is to make “Bubble and Squeak” ” which is perfect on Boxing Day with leftover Turkey or Ham. Or why not make some soup, stilton and broccoli is very easy to make and tastes wonderful.  I’m pretty sure lots of you will have a tried and tested Turkey curry recipe you could share.
  8. Don’t overserve – simple but effective, people can always come back for seconds.
  9. Share Surplus Food – did you know you can use food sharing apps or local Facebook Groups to share surplus food.
  10. Compost – if you do have leftovers that you really can’t do anything with then compost them.  Home composting transforms your kitchen and garden waste as well as small amounts of paper and card into a nutrient rich food for your garden. It’s easy to make and use. All you need to get started is a compost bin and some outdoor space.  If you want to know more about how to compost check this – Home Composting

What to do with surplus food you know you won’t be able to use

If you find you have too much food that you just know you won’t be able to use up did you know that you can now share it with people in your local area.

Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One set the food sharing app OLIO in 2015.

OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local shops so surplus food and other items can be shared, not thrown away.If you love food, hate waste, care about the environment or want to connect with your community, OLIO is for you.

Why not check it out as it’s something that can be used all year and anything that cuts down on food waste must be a good idea.

Have a wonderful Christmas and celebrate reducing your food waste

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas sharing good food with friends and family knowing you’ve done your bit to reduce food waste this year.

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