Household waste can increase more than 25% in the holiday season. This Christmas season take action to prevent and reduce waste. Take a few moments from shopping or thinking of dancing sugar plums to develop a Christmas Zero Waste Action Plan. The reason for the plan is to organize your household and activities so that it is easy to take the necessary actions to reduce waste.
- RETHINK CHRISTMAS: One of the greatest gifts that we can give to all inhabitants of the world is to conserve resources for the future and to reduce the impact of our environmental footprint. By adopting a Zero Waste approach in our own lives we not only give a gift of a better future but we save animals, soil and air. Sometimes we confuse trying to create an abundance of joy with an abundance of stuff. Plan to reduce consumption and increase interaction with family, friends or community. Remember that Christmas is about the traditions not the stuff.
- K.I.S.S.: Christmas is not perfect and it is not a competition. The principle of K.I.S.S (keep it simple Santa) is good working principle when organising decorating, gift-giving and food. The reward for trying to compete for “best and biggest” or competing with Martha Stewart or the Jones to produce the most extravagant Christmas is unnecessary stress and usually lots of waste.
- MINDFUL SHOPPING: Before acquiring more stuff, ask yourself if you really need it. Consider renting, borrowing or sharing equipment and products you may have limited use for. Being mindful of what kind of products we bring into our lives is the best way to avoid generating waste afterwards.
- TAKE STOCK: What do you have in the cupboards and refrigerator that needs used? Incorporate the food items that need to be used in your holiday menu and find recipes that use ingredients that you have on hand. Before going out to buy the spice, check if you have it.
- Set a budget for Christmas expenditure and stick to it.
- Plan your shopping trips and stick to a list of planned purchases.
- Learn what you can about the recycling, composting, reuse, and garbage programs in your community. Many communities have websites and apps to with useful information about what materials can be recycled and composted. Follow the program rules .Avoid bringing products into your life that cannot be recycled or composted or reused in your community.
- Have discard management plan. Have recycling, compost and garbage containers labelled and ready and where they are needed. Instead of that big black garbage bag after present unwrapping have containers to separate reuse and repurpose, recyclables and waste. Contamination in recycling and compost is a real problem for community programs at Christmas.
- Enlist a cleanup team. Make clean up part of the celebration as socializing can still happen as you put leftovers away. This is a great time for kids to teach adults about recycling and adults to teach kids about reducing food waste.
- Plan your menu and be realistic about portion sizes. When planning on how much food is needed take into account if guests have been snacking, children, picky eaters and variety of items and total amount of food served (do you need to subtract some portions) If you are not sure of how much food will be required, check out this handy serving calculator on the LOVE FOOD Hate Waste site http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/portions/everyday. When planning menu think about storage and leftovers. Have a plan to use leftovers
- Have storage containers ready for leftovers. Use your freezer as a lifeline to rescue leftovers for another time.
- Give doggy bags to guests who may not finish meals.
- Share leftovers with someone who did not have a Christmas dinner.
- Avoid single use items like plastic utensils, and paper plates instead opt instead for cloth napkins, cutlery and china. Do not be afraid to mix and match or borrow.
Organizing your celebrations with a Zero Waste Action Plan will cut out stress, waste and save both time and money.
(Recipe from Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow, courtesy Randy Shore Arsenal Press)
Boxing Day soup is how Darcy and I turn Christmas Day’s frenzy of feasting into a next-day cleanse. It also puts to immediate use the large pot of turkey stock we cooked we cooked after dinner the night before. The kids prefer this soup with star-shaped semolina noodles called stelline, but any small semolina pasts will work. However, our kids beg for Turkey and Stars and yours will, too.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups (500ml) diced onions
2 cups (500ml) diced carrots
2 cups (500ml) diced celery
2 tsp kosher salt
1tsp fresh ground pepper
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ cup (125ml) pinot grigio
12 cups (3L) turkey stock
11/4 cups (250g) stelline pasta
1 cup (250ml) diced green beans
3 cups (750ml) cubed leftover turkey
Parsley for garnish
In a large soup pot on medium low heat, add olive oil, carrots, celery, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir occasionally until softened, about five minutes. Add wine and reduce for 3 minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil and add the pasta stirring continuously for about one minute to prevent sticking, then simmer 10 minutes. Taste stock and adjust seasoning. Add green beans and turkey, simmer another 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve with a turkey sandwich. Make 8 servings