With Christmas just around the corner, Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, discusses the challenge of festive food waste and offers his advice to help homeowners leverage their leftovers.
According to research from Cosmopolitan, the average Brit consumes more than 5,000 calories on Christmas Day – more than twice the recommended daily allowance for men and three times for women. But while eating to excess may be a festive tradition, we seem to waste almost as much food as we eat.
Insight from Unilever, for example, highlights that the UK throws away more than 4 million tonnes of perfectly edible food during December (30% of our total annual volume). This includes 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies and more than 170 tonnes of sprouts – enough to collectively fill the Great Pyramid of Giza
But, with our national food waste volumes continuing to rise, and landfill sites across the country close to capacity, this is a Christmas tradition we can’t afford to keep. To help householders tackle food waste and streamline their spending, I’ve collated my top five festive tips.
Rather than binning your leftovers, a little creative thinking can turn unwanted extras into tasty new meals – a great way to cut food waste and save money. When you’re bored of turkey sandwiches, visit lovefoodhatewaste.com for a creative selection of family-friendly leftover meal ideas.
A significant proportion of your Christmas food shop can be frozen, either before or after cooking, which adds weeks or even months to use-by dates. From mince pies and roast potatoes to fruit, veg and even wine, there’s no need to throw anything away! If you’re unsure about what can and can’t be frozen, or want to know the best storage techniques, visit Hubbub.
It may seem obvious, but clever planning and preparation can help you to save time, save money and waste less food. From ordering in advance and creating a set menu, to preparing food early and thinking about your leftovers, thinking ahead is key to the perfect Christmas.
Use a food waste caddy
At ReFood, we recycle unwanted food waste into renewable energy and sustainable bio-fertiliser via anaerobic digestion (AD). If all food waste at Christmas was recycled (rather than binned), we could power the average home for 57 years!
Unfortunately, refuse services across the UK differ from postcode to postcode. As such, only 11% of householders have access to separate food waste collections. If you do have a food caddy, please use it. After all, recycling food waste is a much better solution than sending it to landfill.
This Christmas, why not try something new? Plan your portions, reuse your leftovers, streamline your spending and freeze what’s left. In addition, don’t forget to use your food waste caddy. These steps might sound small, but collectively we can play a part in reducing festive food waste.