How to make this year’s christmas dinner scrumptious yet sustainable.
Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most wasteful – 2 million turkeys, 5 million Christmas puddings, and 74 million mince pie will get disposed while still edible, causing almost 270,000 tons of food waste - not to mention the 1 billion Christmas cards that will end up in the bin.
We don’t want to ruin the holiday spirit, but it turns out your average Christmas festivities aren’t so good for the planet after all; so If you’re hoping to make this festive dinner a little more eco-friendly, take note of these small changes that’ll reduce your impact on the environment this Christmas.
1. Handle your leftovers.
Unnecessary leftovers make up more than 78% of all disposed waste on Christmas eve - don’t let your dinner contribute to this! Utilise remains to formulate something entirely new; do something more exciting with the remains than a turkey butty. “Break bits of it with leftover veg and potatoes and mould into little cakes, again, to pan fry.”
If you’re running low on ideas, we’ve got you! Here are a few links to some excellent vegan, sustainable yet utterly delicious recipes created completely from meal leftovers:
Because so many of its ingredients come from far-flung places around the world, it’s hard to buy a christmas pudding that’s actually sustainable. A more environmentally sound alternative would be one that’s made from Homegrown fruit - usually ‘homegrown’ disclaimers are specifically emphasised on the label, so be on the lookout for those!
If you have the budget, consider taking a look at Crisis Christmas Pudding - a vegan Harrods pudding with a £20 price tag that includes a donation to the homeless.
3. Go veggie.
We’d say the best way to go green this season is to simply give up the turkey. The meat industry is responsible for more than half of all commercial waste produced in December, and excessive amounts of beef and turkey undoubtedly contribute to greenhouse gases, namely methane. Here’s a great list from BBC food with over 75 purely vegetarian recipes.
4. Atleast go organic!
If you’re an ardent meat-lover and simply can’t get rid of the turkey, going organic is the best all-round certification you can get that guarantees environmental advantages. You’ll ensure that your turkey isn’t contaminated with pesticides as well as being certified with a high quality control sticker. It can get slightly more expensive, but if you’ve got the budget it’s a great way to eat more sustainable meat. To add on, Try buying a turkey whole rather than just the crown, as this reduces the amount of meat that gets chucked before it gets to the shelves.
From the tree you buy to the food you eat this season, everything – no matter how big or small – can make a huge difference. Don’t be the person who ends up disposing of half of their turkey or trashes their tree in the wrong bin; keep the Christmas spirit alive by showing your community how responsible you can be!
Finally, all of us at Lives without Knives wish you a happy, safe, and most importantly, sustainable (and hopefully plant-based) christmas!
Written by Aiswarya Rambhatla
Edited by Chandni Sacheti