Let’s Stop Food Waste this Christmas

The recent COP26 conference has highlighted the climate change issues facing all of us. Whilst we certainly need the big players to come on board, we, as individuals, can also do our bit to make small changes which in turn can lead to big impacts. With this in mind let us consider food waste.

Food waste is a problem throughout the year, but over Christmas and the New Year, it’s a huge issue. It can be easy to get carried away with all the fancy festive advertisements showcasing exclusive products and convincing us Christmas won’t be the same without them. Too good to be true supermarket deals, multi-buy savings and cooking more food than we need. Not only does this have an impact on our waistlines, but we really should also consider the impact of food waste on our planet.

The Environmental Impact

We are all united by food, but our food does not magically appear on the supermarket shelves. The time and resources used to make, grow, process, package, transport and cook our food are enormous.

Despite this, in the UK alone, we waste 6.5 million tonnes of it every year. 4.5 million of which is edible. (4.5 million tonnes = 38 million wheelie bins = 90 Royal Albert Halls.

Love Food, Hate Waste

We often forget the cost of our food once we have bought it, and we often hear or take part in conversations around the rise in food prices, yet we don’t relate that to the cost of the food waste that we throw into the bin. That food waste is YOUR money. That half a loaf of bread that could have been frozen and used another day. The potato peelings that could be washed, seasoned and roasted to make crispy nibbles. Those apples that if stored in a fridge instead of a fruit bowl on the worktop could have lasted two to three weeks longer.

If global food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China and the US.

Love Food, Hate Waste

Food deserves to be eaten, not binned, and we should be more mindful of this throughout the year. Especially at Christmas, when you consider the number of people struggling and relying on food banks for even the most basic of foods. 

Seasonal Options to Remember

Let us not forget the great produce in season in the run up to Christmas, such as cranberries, chestnuts, white cabbage. Brussels sprouts, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, apples, pears. Leeks, kale, celeriac, cauliflower. Squash, pumpkin, swede, turnips, horseradish, kohlrabi, and shallots. Seasonality saves food miles. Even better, try to grow your own if you can.

We can all make a difference. Take a look at the ‘Love Food Hate Waste website. It is full of wonderful tips, recipes, facts, information and ways that you can take action on food waste at home.

John Addison

Environmental Committee

The Rotary Club of Kibworth & Fleckney