How to reduce food wastage this festive season

A guide on what to do with your festive season leftovers. Picture: Pexels/Tim Douglas.

A guide on what to do with your festive season leftovers. Picture: Pexels/Tim Douglas.

Published Nov 28, 2023


The festive season is a time for giving, and sadly, also a time when a lot of food is wasted.

The good news is that it only requires a few simple steps to manage your food during the festive season.

These strategies will also save you money and help the environment.

Here are some simple tips to help reduce food waste this festive season, while maintaining your holiday cheer.

Stick to your festive shopping list as a way to reduce food wast. Picture: Pexels/Nataliya Vaitkevich.

Stick to your festive shopping list

A gift to yourself (which also saves electricity and money, and reduces stress) is to write your food shopping list before you leave the house.

Check what items you already have in your cupboards and freezer and only buy the food you need.

Don’t be tempted by the ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ or other special offers. This is because they are not a good deal, unless all the food can be eaten before it goes off.

You should also make sure the ‘use by’ dates on perishable food, such as dairy and meat, will still be good when you plan to eat them.

Buy cereal and dry goods in bags instead of boxes

When you don’t have access to bulk items or want more conventional and cold packaged goods, look for foods that come in bags instead of boxes.

These tend to include a lot less packaging, which is better for the environment.

Get to grips with your freezer this festive season, as a way to reduce food wastage. Picture: Pexels/Karolina Grabwoska.

Get to grips with your freezer

Your freezer can be your best friend when all the festivities are over.

Leftovers, such as cooked turkey, pigs-in-blankets, ham, and stuffing - even Christmas cake - all freeze well.

If you have got more food left than you can get through while it is still safe to eat, freeze it and focus on using up the leftovers that don’t freeze as well.

This includes fresh cream, roasted vegetables and roasted potatoes.

To maximise the space in your freezer, use freezer bags instead of food storage boxes, to pack food away.

Fill freezer bags, lay them flat on the counter-top, and press out any excess air in them.

This approach allows the leftovers to lay flat in the freezer and be stacked on top of one another.

Don’t forget to use a freezer pen to mark each bag or container with its contents and the date it was put in the freezer.

By doing this, you can rotate what you have over time, and make sure nothing ends in the freezer is forgotten.

A guide on what to do with your festive season leftovers. Picture: Pexels/Nicole Michalou.

Share the love

If you have plenty of leftovers and no room in the freezer to store it, share the food.

This includes sending your guests home with Tupperware boxes of food on Christmas Day.

By doing this, your guests will create a tasty meal to enjoy the following day and you will reduce food wastage.

You can also give leftover food to those in need these holidays.

Food banks generally only take dry foods, but local homeless shelters may be thrilled to take your deliciously cooked food.

Start composting

Food scraps don’t need to enter the main municipal waste stream, especially during the holiday season.

Instead, get a contained compost unit installed at your home. Keep it well managed by regularly turning it and adding garden cuttings.

Finally, use your compost and your extra time at home to get your garden going.