Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Christmas - a feast of food waste

Christmas

Let’s just admit it – Christmas is that certain time of year when most of us leave the dinner table with that slightly icky feeling of having eaten too much of the good stuff. However, despite our best efforts to clean the plates, a staggering amount of food still gets chucked away during the holidays.

Question is, does amnesia strike ahead of each 25 December, or are we just strangely incapable of suddenly calculating the food necessary for the Christmas feast?

It is estimated that an equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 5m Christmas puddings and 74m mince pies, are thrown in the bin each year. To put it into context, that means we are binning nearly twice as many mince pies as retail giant Marks & Spencer sells every year (40m).

Cutting down on the obscene amount of food waste which has become a fixture of this time of year, might not even be that hard with just a bit of planning our shopping and cooking more carefully. Social pressures and glossy TV advertisements from supermarkets mean that often we feel we have no choice but to be over-generous and put on a massive spread that we know we are not going to eat.

A good tip is to sit down with a pen and paper right after Christmas and already prepare the shopping list for next year while everything is still fresh in mind: what did you have too much of, and which dish wasn’t perhaps that popular after all.

And for those of us flying home for the holidays, keep your eyes open: major airports are encouraging their travelers to Think.Eat.Save. and reduce their foodprint during their end-of-the-year festivities, as the amount of food wasted jumps sharply and some 900 million people around the world continue to go hungry.

In the United States for example, an extra 5 million tons of household waste is generated each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's, by some estimates, including three times as much food waste as at other times of the year.  
This wastage all contributes to the estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food - or one third of all food production worldwide - that is wasted annually.

Apparently it's not just leftover turkey scraps we need to be worrying about. Britons will pour 15 million cups of roast turkey fat down the kitchen sink on Christmas Day, enough to nearly fill an Olympic swimming pool.

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