What a waste: Christmas a time for saving?

A mountain of wasted food is regularly thrown out by all of us, who fork out for around 33% more groceries than we use. Around a third of shopping piled into trolleys ends up in the bin, as consumers buy too much, or are too generous when it comes to dishing up meals, especially at Christmas. And while bulging shopping bags and bin bags full of food drains purses and pockets, it also has a much wider implication for the environment.

Wasted food is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases – giving off methane as it rots in landfill sites. Food also uses energy to produce and package and is often transported by lorries, which produce carbon emissions. Letting food go to waste is not only very expensive, but has serious repercussions for the environment. Food does not always decompose as many people think, instead it rots and gives off methane – which is a harmful greenhouse gas.

Simple steps to slash the amount of food wasted, includes:

  • Checking what you have in your cupboards and writing a shopping list of what is needed
  • Measuring portions
  • Keeping food in the fridge
  • Making sure food containers are air-tight
  • Juicing over-ripe fruit
  • Freezing food so it keeps longer
  • Using leftovers to create new dishes like bubble and squeak
  • Compost vegetable trimmings

So make sure your cupboard is bare before forking out for groceries this Christmas!

Pete Baveystock, waste and recycling manager, Wokingham Borough Council on behalf of SCI’s Thames and Kennet Regional Group

(Pete Baveystock was a speaker at Thames and Kennet Group's 'What a waste' event hosted at the University of Reading on 4 November 2009. His talk was well received and examined the problems surrounding waste management; focussing on household waste, including its collection, processing, and eventual disposal/recycling. His presentation revealed the drivers for waste reduction and recycling and how they are forcing councils to invest in waste infrastructure)

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