We all strive to be the best Christmas day hosts and guests we can be. But come Christmas night, even our most well-intentioned efforts can often lead to overfull bellies and an even more full rubbish bin.
This year we’re sharing our 12 days of a Love Food Hate Waste Christmas. We encourage you to share these tips with the people you’re spending Christmas with, and together, make a commitment to do your best to avoid creating waste this festive season.
For jolly-good guests
- Good guests will always ask their host what they need. Don’t just assume your host needs your bowl of potato salad, pavlova or fruit platter. By checking with your host in advance, they can advise what hasn’t been allocated to avoid food waste.
- Ask your host how many people are attending. There’s no point bringing a salad for 20, if they’re only expecting 10 people.
- Have a think about how you will transport and store the food you bring. Is it in a container that can easily be stacked in the fridge or is it an awkward shaped bowl or platter that has cling wrap on top and will take up an entire shelf in your host’s fridge?
- Take back your leftovers – it will not only save your host from trying to find space to store your food, it will also save them from eating potato salad for the next few weeks as they try to work their way through all the leftovers.
- Remember it’s okay to take non-food items – cutlery, serving plates and cloth napkins are thoughtful alternatives to food, that will still be a huge help to your host and help avoid single use plastics.
- Keep salads fresh and crisp by adding the dressing just before serving or on the side, which helps leftover salad last longer. Consider serving dressing on the side for guests to dress their own salad once it’s on their plates, which helps leftover salad last longer.
- Be specific with what you ask guests to bring to help manage over-catering – we’ve all been at a family Christmas with three garden salads, four trifles and two other unnecessary desserts. Be firm with guests if you don’t need them to bring anything at all. After all, you’re the one who has to find space for it all in your fridge.
- Focus on one theme for your main 'signature dish' and build the rest of your menu around that. This will help you avoid serving five different types of meat, which not only produces the most waste but is difficult to compost or dispose of. For a classic Brisbane Christmas, think cold ham and prawns with two salads. Or for a traditional European-style Christmas, swap the ham for turkey with roast vegetables. Remember it’s not a competition – you don’t have to offer it all.
- If after all this planning you still have leftovers, get creative and think of ways you can repurpose them or check out our leftovers blog post for inspiration.
- Consider the waste the holidays can create and manage it by separating the different types of waste and seeking new ways to dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully. You can compost your organic waste at home or via one of the 19 Community Composting Hubs across the city. Check out the ShareWaste website that connects you to people in your area that have chickens and compost bins to take food scraps. Remember to recycle your wrapping paper. Consider having a bin for soft plastics and drop it at your local REDcycle after Christmas. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to take some recycling home to their bin if yours has filled up. It’s a simple thing they can do to help (instead of bringing unnecessary food) and will avoid you having to put good recyclables in your general waste/landfill.
- Single-use plastic is a huge problem at Christmas and tonnes of it ends up in landfill. To avoid falling into the plastic trap ask your guests if they can bring some dinner plates, glassware and cutlery. It makes for a great alternative to the food you don’t actually need them to bring and you will all feel good knowing you’re having a plastic-free Christmas.
- Where possible, shop local and in season. Your local green grocer is sure to have some 'ugly fruit' that will be great in a punch or trifle. Punch is a great way to move your drinks out of the fridge (prime real estate) and onto the table for everyone to help themselves.
Wishing you a waste free, safe and healthy holiday, from all of us here in the Love Food Hate Waste team!