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Christmas food waste reduction

Save your purse and the planet: nine hacks for cutting your Christmas Food waste 

Christmas may be 'the most wonderful time of the year'. It can also be the most wasteful.

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Here in Cornwall, we throw away:

  • 14% more rubbish at Christmas than any other time of the year, and
  • an extra 547 tonnes of food in January alone.

That’s the equivalent of one million plates of Christmas dinner straight in the bin!

Food has always played a big part in the festivities and there’s no need for us to abandon the tradition of festive feasting because of climate emergency.

Failing to plan meals properly over the holiday season will harm the environment, though, not to mention your purse.

We’re asking householders to give Cornwall and the environment one very important gift this Christmas. Here's how:

1. Plan portions

Before you plan your Christmas meals, think about how many people you'll be cooking for and how big the portion sizes should be - don't be tempted to overload your guests' plates! 

Try this portion planning tool

2. Who likes what?

Think ahead about your guests’ preferences, and don’t be afraid to abandon tradition. If you don't like sprouts - it's okay to not buy them!

3. Buying fresh will last longer

It goes without saying that you should check the use by dates on fresh items, and buy the freshest you can find on the shelves. 

4. Use your leftovers

Using leftovers can save you money on buying more food. Give food a second lease of life and reduce how much you throw away - all it takes is some crafty thinking, simple planning, and a bit of careful storage or freezing.

Find Christmas leftovers recipes.

5. Think big

Don’t just think about saving food - drinks and herbs can be rescued too! Fresh herbs that are leftover, can be pureed and frozen. Just add them to dishes as and when you need them!

Leftover wine you can be preserved in the same way for use at a later date in sauces, gravy or (if it’s white wine) as an alcoholic ice cube.

6. Understand the difference between labels 

Ignore "sell by" dates, as they are for use by the seller.

"Best before" dates are simply an indication of quality rather than safety.
"Use by" dates indicate when a product may no longer be safe to eat.

7. Buy wonky

Lots of the supermarkets are now selling fruit and veg that previously would have been wasted – it might look a bit strange, but still tastes good!

8. Store everything in the right place 

For example: potatoes and onions should be kept in a cool dark spot, and bananas should be kept away from other fruit. It's also a good idea to make sure your fridge is at the right temperature for those Christmas cheeses!

9. Compost what you can

If you have space, get a composter. The 'Green Johanna' is a hot composter that you can throw your unavoidable food waste (like veg peelings, and even cooked food) into. Cornwall Council offers subsidised compost bins available to purchase from Get Composting