Christmas Food…Waste Not, Want Not This Festive Season

As we start to unwind and really enter the end-of-year and Thanksgiving FeastChristmas party season, spare a thought for the environmental impact of all those celebrations…particularly the food.

In Australia, we will spend about $10 billion on food over the Christmas period.

And lot of that will go into our mouths (and onto our bodies…unless we’re very disciplined ;)).

One reason we do this is because we all like to party. We all like to have more food, more drink, and be generous at this time of year.  We like celebrating our achievements and having made it through another year.  And one way we do this is relaxing and letting go of the restraints we’ve had for the rest of the year.

Unfortunately, unless we think carefully about those celebrations and plan ahead, the environment can lose out.  (So can our bank balances and waistlines. :()

Did you know that some 35% of that food will be wasted.  And a lot of that will end up as landfill. 🙁

It’s really easy to get caught up in the ‘more, more, more’ that we see everywhere at this time of year.  (Believe me, I find it really hard!)

Planning ahead is really important for reducing waste from our celebrations.

Think carefully about how much you really need to provide.  Try to estimate quantities as accurately as possible.  Using a pen and paper – or a calculator or spreadsheet – can be really helpful.

And think about what you will do with the leftover food. (Because, being the generous person that you are, there will be leftovers ;)).

–        How will you store them? (And that means storing them safely : we don’t want food poisoning for Christmas!)

–        Will you share them with your family and friends?

–        Will you donate it to people less fortunate?  In some places ‘food rescue’ charities like OzHarvest or community food rescue services can collect excess food to feed people in need (like people without homes)…as long as the food has been stored correctly before, during and after your celebrations (so no leftovers from buffet tables).

You need to do this before you start buying and preparing the food.  Write it down, and keep the list of your requirements handy, so you don’t get caught up in the ‘more is better’ thinking…especially when you are shopping and faced with all those really yummy, attractively-presented goodies. 😉

And just remember that food is just one aspect of the festive season.

We tend to over-indulge across the board at Christmas – with similar levels of waste.  Estimates from various countries suggest that at least 25% more waste is generated at this time of year!

The key is to plan ahead…. so that you generate less waste…from food, presents, decorations…

You can get some ideas for reducing waste from presents in my post of 19 November 2012.

Now, as you’ve been reading this blog post, you will have noticed below it a box marked Leave a Reply.  This is a great place to write your commitment to reducing waste this festive season.

So, what will you be doing differently this Christmas?

Go ahead and make the commitment now, put it in the Reply box below…and when you’ve finished your celebrations, use the Reply box again to share how you went.  Then we can all celebrate!  (I promise to personally reply with a ‘pat on the back’ for your effort ;))

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!