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Give food waste the flick this festive season!

Date: 06-Dec-10

Christmas Meal

At this time of year, most of us would admit to occasionally over catering, or throwing away uneaten leftovers, spoiled produce, or products that have past their best-before date. However wasted food is not only a waste of money, it’s a waste of the resources used to grow, harvest, process, store and distribute it. While food is an integral part of summertime celebrations, food waste doesn’t have to be.

This festive season, whether you’ll be feasting with friends or feeding your family, now is a great time to start thinking about ways to get smarter with your food.

Pre-Party Planning

Actions you take before your event can make a real difference to how much food you’re left with afterwards.

  • Catering – Find out how many people are coming to your celebration, and keep this number in mind when you’re planning the type and quantity of food you’ll need.
  • Menu planning – It may sound overly organized, but planning your menu will help you to find ways of using the same ingredient twice (e.g. mint in a sauce and in a salad) and making sure you have dishes to suit the dietary requirements of your guests.
  • Shopping – From your menu, develop a shopping list. This will help you to avoid buying what’s already in your cupboard, and buying things you don’t really need.
  • Storing – Find out the best way to store different types of foods to prolong their life. Ask friends and family for their top storage tips, or visit Love Food Hate Waste for some great ideas. 
  • Serving – Think like Goldilocks when you serve your guests – you don’t want to give them too much or too little, but just the right amount on their plates.

Love Those Leftovers

Even with the best forward planning, you’ll probably have some leftovers remaining after your big event. But don’t despair! There are loads of fantastic ways you can turn your festive leftovers into delicious, nutritious meals.

  • Roast meat is great as sandwich fillings, as part of an omelet, or even as a pizza topping.
  • Cooked seafood can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days, and it makes a wonderful addition to paella or jambalaya.
  • Roast vegetables can be chopped up and made into a hearty salad
  • Un-iced Christmas cake can be stored for months wrapped with greaseproof paper in an airtight, light-proof container. If your cake is iced, keep it in a breathable container (e.g. a cardboard box) in a cool, dark place. Cakes can also be frozen to store it for longer.

The Taste website has a range of fabulous recipes for festive leftovers. 

Food Scrap Solutions

No matter how careful we are we’ll always have some unavoidable food scraps such as vegetable peelings. Even here, we can reduce our impact by recycling food scraps for compost. Some councils also offer food scrap collection services. To check the services available in your area, or to find out more about composting and worm farming, click here.

For more information about recycling other items this festive season, visit or call 1300 733 712.

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