Plan ahead and cut food waste this festive season
With the run up to Christmas gathering pace, Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Team is urging residents to plan ahead as they prepare for the big day in a bid to reduce food waste.
Research by Unilever suggests that the equivalent of 4.2 million Christmas dinners were thrown away by British households in 2015, at a cost of £64m. However, taking time to plan can minimise these troubling statistics.
Sticking to a shopping list and thinking about portion sizes and cooking only what is needed are just two simple steps that can be taken to achieve less food waste.
Becoming familiar with everyday packaging labels can also ensure that food is not discarded earlier than necessary. ‘Best Before’ dates are about quality and simply mean that food eaten after this date may not be at its best. While ‘Use by’ dates are about safety; food can be eaten (or frozen) up until the ‘Use by’ date, but not after.
Chair of Gloucestershire’s Joint Waste Committee, Councillor Sue Coakley said: ‘Based on these findings, last year Gloucestershire residents will have thrown away over 40,000 Christmas meals. That’s a shocking amount of unnecessary waste and why we are asking everyone to think ahead.’
‘On Christmas Day it can be difficult to find the time to store leftovers properly and the temptation can be to throw them in the bin, particularly with so much other food in the home still left to be eaten. However, making sure you have enough foil, cling film, freezer bags and containers can make the job a lot easier and ensure that leftovers are not wasted.’
‘While Christmas is seen as a time when household chores are put aside, with all the extra packaging, paper, bottles and food it is so important that residents still keep up their good work and reuse and recycle where possible,’ she added.
Inevitably, for most, it is impossible to avoid food waste all together. However, this does not mean that unwanted food should end up in the bin. Residents across Gloucestershire are reminded that all six district and borough councils in the county now offer a weekly food waste collection service from the kerbside. Caddies are provided free of charge and can be ordered by contacting the relevant local authority. By acting now, residents can expect to receive their container before the festive season gets underway and ensure that any food waste they do have is turned into something positive.
More information about how to reduce food waste this Christmas can be found at: www.recycleforgloucestershire.com