Cut waste this Christmas – and save £600 by next year!

Devon County CouncilDevon County Council

Posted on: 19 December 2011


As Christmas approaches there are lots of demands on our money – but spending a fortune on uneaten food doesn’t have to be one of them, thanks to the Love Christmas Hate Waste campaign.

The average UK family throws away an average of £50 worth of food a month – that’s £600 a year which could be spent on presents for next Christmas!

The campaign, run by Don’t let Devon go to waste, features Yuletide recipes and Christmas and New Year tips for reducing and reusing waste at

The festive meals come courtesy of chef Paul Da-Costa-Greaves who has lined up some tasty winter treats. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without roast turkey and Paul’s recipe for the perfect bird is there along with his suggestions for accompaniments such as apricot stuffing, bread sauce, bacon rolls, cranberry and port sauce and crunchy topped sprouts.

For vegetarians there’s grilled halloumi on crushed potatoes and those with a sweet tooth will have their cravings satisfied thanks to Christmas pudding ice cream and knickerbocker glory.

Paul has also devised some recipes specifically for Boxing Day to make the most of leftovers. There’s turkey or vegetable broth with crusty baked bread and curried turkey with braised rice. The website will feature videos of Paul cooking the Boxing Day recipes from his cottage near Exeter.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Environmental and Community Services, said: “A lot of people would be shocked to think that the average family throws away £50 worth of food each month. That’s a lot of money over the course of a year – particularly for hard-pressed families on a budget and even more so at Christmas time. That’s why the recipes and tips at are so good – if people have bought too much food, there are plenty of ways of ensuring it won’t go to waste and they are helping the environment at the same time.”

Paul Da-Costa-Greaves said: “I’m really excited about teaming up with Don’t let Devon go to waste again. With so much uneaten food ending up in the bin, it’s good to know there are ways to prevent it. Using that leftover turkey in a curry on Boxing Day means it doesn’t need to be wasted.”

Food tips include:

• If you are catering for extra people, use the Perfect Portion calculator at It will remove the guesswork. If you do find yourself with extras, freeze the leftovers.

• Save yourself a trip to the shops by freezing essentials like milk and bread.

• Use up any leftover smoked salmon, eggs and cream by making a quiche to eat or freeze. Or cook it up with scrambled eggs for a special breakfast treat on toast.

• Leftover hard cheeses, such as stilton and cheddar, are perfect for freezing. Even the smallest portions can be frozen and are perfect for dropping straight into soups and sauces for extra flavour.

• If you are making your own mince pies, make sure none go to waste by freezing them uncooked. Just bake a few at a time, when needed.

• Freeze cold meats leftover after Boxing Day; they’ll be ideal for sandwiches when you are back to work in the New Year.

• Try planning weekly menus – it takes the effort out of wondering what to cook each night and wondering if we have the right ingredients to make it, by planning meals and shopping for them in advance.

• Have a freezer fortnight – save money by eating meals from the freezer.

• Get out the scales – avoid cooking too much by getting in the habit of using kitchen scales when cooking, they are great for measuring everyday portions.

But it’s not all about food:
• Keep the party going by remembering to recycle over the festive period. If you’re having visitors to stay this Christmas, let them know where your recycling bins are and what goes in them.

• A whole range of jars – from cranberry sauce to mincemeat and baby food – can all be recycled: just give them a rinse in your leftover washing up water and recycle them with your other glass. Don’t worry about removing labels; they will come off in the recycling process.

When the festivities are over:
• With a mass of new gifts being given and received this Christmas, there are bound to be clear outs of old furniture, clothing, tired models of equipment and other items that have been replaced by the new gifts you have received. Take these to your local charity shop, furniture group, or recycling centre, for more details visit

• Don’t forget that you can recycle your Christmas cards when you take them down on twelfth night or you could give some of your Christmas cards a new lease of life by cutting up some of the more attractive cards to make gift tags for next Christmas.

• When recycling old wrapping paper after Christmas please remove any sticky tape and remember that many shiny/metallic papers might not be recyclable but can be saved and reused for next year.

• Visit or contact your district council to find out about Christmas tree collections, or take to your local recycling centre for composting.

Posted in: Environment