Are you switched on when it comes to fighting food waste? Christmas time can be terrible for food waste – whether that’s down to overbuying, panic shopping or simply throwing edible food away.
This year we’re teaming up with Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean again, to hammer home the seriousness of festive food waste, and so you can’t miss it - we’re putting it up in lights!
We were shocked to discover that throwing away just a single portion of Christmas dinner produces the same carbon emissions as having your Christmas lights on every day in December. That’s a set of 500 fairy lights, on for a grand total of 155 hours!
But being mindful doesn’t mean missing out and because we still want you to have a fabulous (food-waste free) Christmas we’ve pulled together all our top tips and hints from over the years, as well as some brand new leftovers recipes from Gary!
Gary’s Top Tips
1. Turn your turkey (upside) down
One of the reasons people end up binning a lot of turkey is that it’s overcooked and dry. Gary suggests you keep the oven low and cook your turkey upside down! All the flavour goes into the breast meat and keeps it deliciously moist. Just flip it the right way round for the last half hour to achieve that perfect golden top!
2. Go buffet-style
If you’re cooking for a big group, Gary suggests serving Christmas dinner 'Buffet Style' rather than piling everything onto a plate. This encourages people to take what they know they'll eat and avoids plate waste. Everything that's left is then in perfect condition to be boxed up and used as leftovers!
3. Love your leftovers
Speaking of leftovers, there’s so much you can do with them and you can also freeze most things to be used at a later date. Invest in some good storage and you’ll reap the benefits throughout the festive season!
Try Gary's party food to use up any Christmas Dinner leftovers:
- Camembert and Cranberry Bites
- Panko and Parmesan Brussel Sprouts
- Smoked Salmon and Chive Cream Cheese Blinis
- Tear and Share Boxing Day Bread
- Turkey Tacos
Christmas Meal Plans
Last year we developed meal plans for 2, 4 or 6 people (for meat-eaters and veggies alike) - not only do they give step by step guidance to help you pull off a perfect Christmas dinner, they also create very little waste and look at ways to use any excess ingredients!
Get them here:
*How did we calculate the impact of food waste?
The figures are lifted directly from the published Carbon Metric Publications.
Using the carbon metric we can get the following figures:
1 portion of wasted Christmas dinner (here we consider a wasted prawn cocktail, full plate of turkey and all the trimmings, dessert, cheese and crackers and wine/soft drinks) = 7.3 kgCO²e (kilograms of CO¬2 equivalent emissions released) while 1 x set of fairy lights with 500 mini-incandescent bulbs = 0.047 kgCO²e per hour
For the calculation we considered that people would have their Christmas lights on for an average of 5 hours per day, that’s 155 hours per month (5 x 31).
Therefore if you have your lights on for 5 hours a day, every day of December (155 x 0.047 = 7.30 kgCO²e) which is equal to 1 portion of wasted dinner going to landfill.