Reduce food waste and recycle more this Christmas

Save money and reduce food waste by using some helpful tips and ideas

Christmas scene with image of recycling bin
Christmas scene with image of recycling bin

In the UK 1 out of every 6 bags of food purchased find their way to the bin. At Christmas we typically buy 20% more food than usual, so the amount wasted is proportionately larger.

Buying food that we go on to waste doesn’t make financial sense and comes with an environmental cost. The key to having a frugal but merry Christmas is buying just enough food, and eating what we buy.

That can be easier said than done. A contributor to Christmas food waste is that we tend to buy foods that we wouldn’t necessarily consume at any other times of the year, for example things like large turkeys and mince pies. We also tend to buy more food than usual. As we’re not used to storing, portioning and cooking these foods as part of our usual routine, making the most of them takes a bit of effort;

  • It’s a good idea to free up some space in your freezer in the run up to Christmas, and to stock up on storage containers. Freezers act as a pause button for food, giving you more time to eat what you’ve bought. BBC Good Food has some top freezer tips
  • Love Food Hate Waste offer a  portion calculator to help you determine how much food to buy, prepare, cook and serve. Portioning correctly will help you to avoid unplanned leftovers.
  • Store your foods well to ensure they keep in top condition before you use them and remember to follow any on pack labelling and instructions. It’s a good idea to use Love Food Hate Waste’s online tool to check your fridge is at the correct temperature.
  • Planning your meals in advance can help to prevent food going ‘out of date’ before you have a chance to eat it. Love Food Hate Waste offer guidance on how to go about this, along with advice on how to store and use up any surplus food too.
  • To ensure you buy the right foods in the right quantities its a good idea to make a shopping list and remember to use it. Love Food Hate Waste offer guidance on different ways to do this. This will help you resist ‘special offers’ that you aren’t likely to eat or be able to store. It’s also a good idea to check the space in your fridge, freezer and cupboards beforehand and do keep in mind that the shops are only closed for a couple of days over the Christmas period.
  • it’s a good idea to label your leftovers and store them in the fridge or freezer, depending on when you’re going to use them. Buy labels, pens and storage containers in advance.
  • Keep in mind that compost bins can continue to work through winter and are a great way to dispose of your Christmas veg peelings. You can find more information at the Carryoncomposting.com website.

As well as food, our general waste also increases during the festivities with excess cardboard, paper and wrapping galore! Make sure that you know what can be recycled in your bins to ensure that nothing goes into landfill that doesn't have to. Check out our A-Z here.

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