Every year around Christmas and New Year, an estimated seven million tons of food is wasted. Food waste is responsible for as much as 10% of all greenhouse gasses emissions, yet the issue is rarely talked about in terms of climate change.
By aiming to reduce your own food waste, you can contribute to those emissions and discover an array of wonderful new recipes. Have you ever heard of banana skin pulled BBQ sandwiches? Surprisingly delicious and nutritious.
Here at Spruce, we believe in the power of small changes in creating a better world for future generations. Let's fight food waste together and have a slightly greener holiday season.
Food waste in the UK
Talking about food waste can be quite shaming. But, while individual households do contribute to the food waste produced in the UK, the majority actually comes from supermarket and restaurant food that is not sold before it’s ‘sell-by date’.
Here's what you need to know:
The UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year.
Over ⅓ of all food produced globally goes to waste.
£19 billion of food is wasted every year in the UK.
UK homes waste 20 million slices of bread every day.
While these figures seem scary and impossible to combat, food waste has declined as people became more aware of the problem. There are many easy changes that we all can make at home.
Source: Business waste.
Love food, hate waste
1. CUT THE PACKAGING
We all know how much unnecessary packaging our food comes in. Especially around Christmas when we’re buying and eating so much, it can seem insane. Buying from zero-waste stores can be a great alternative for cutting down your packaging plastic waste. Rather than opting for food wrapped up in plastic, try buying loose fruit, veg, nuts, flour and dairy products. They’ve got it all. Cutting down on your food waste and your plastic waste, brilliant!
Check out our zero-waste shop guide to find stores near you.
2. DONATE TO FOOD BANKS
Donating to a food bank might be the most effective way to reduce your food waste and do some good. With public donations for food banks decreasing and an estimated 50% rise in demand for food charity food by Christmas, donating your untouched surplus food is a great option. Food banks usually don't accept fresh food but welcome sealed or tinned goods. So before you open that packet or crack open that tin, ask yourself if you're going to use everything inside, and if not, consider saving it for the food bank.
Find your nearest food bank here.
What to do with food waste
3. GIFT IT
You can pickle, preserve or ferment your leftover veggies to make pickled anything, from kimchi to pickled onions. You can use these as gifts for the New Year. All you need are some glass jars and vinegar.
4. CHRISTMAS COMPOSTING
Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and it also benefits the environment. Perhaps even the perfect new year's resolution to get on board with? You can compost more of your festive leftovers than you think. You can chuck in your uncooked fruit and veg, eggshells, wine corks, coffee grinds, bread and dairy products! Your Christmas compost could help your garden flourish next year, using your waste to feed your garden.
5. USE FOOD SHARING APPS
There are a variety of different food sharing apps, our favourite is OLIO. OLIO allows you to upload pictures of your leftover food and share it out with anyone in your community who might want it. Olio alone has rescued over 34 million portions going to waste and female founded! A great alternative if your eyes have been bigger than your belly.
Check out the Olio website here.
6. UTILISE THE FREEZER
Just because you have seconds left over, doesn’t mean you have to eat them all at once (although we won't judge if you do!). Whether that's on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Years Day. You can freeze pretty much all types of food, from soups to leftover Turkey. Save the festive leftovers and eat them in the new year. It’ll come in handy, it’s better for the planet and it’ll give you fuzzy Christmas flashbacks of the holiday season.
7. LEFTOVER MEAL IDEAS
Use your leftovers to create brand new dishes, whilst also reducing your food waste. Want to use up those leftover Brussel sprouts or the lashings of excess gravy, Olive Magazine have some great Christmas leftover recipes to make the most of your food that might otherwise go in the bin!
Check out their recipes here.
If we can follow any of these tips and prevent food from ending up in the bin, we'll all be a step further on our low waste journeys. Join us in our resolution to reduce food waste this holiday season.
We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and new year from the team at Spruce x
Written by Liv Young