Banbury residents urged to help reduce Christmas food waste mountain
Waste officers at Oxfordshire County Council are highlighting the annual spike in food waste in the hope of encouraging residents to reduce the amount of uneaten food that is thrown away.
Oxfordshire residents throw away nearly 2000 tonnes of food waste over the Christmas period. That’s about 60 kilograms per household – equivalent to filling a large supermarket trolley and throwing it straight in the bin.
However, we do understand that however much families love leftovers, some food waste is inevitable and are asking residents to use the food waste recycling system in their district.
Throwing away food waste in the general bin increases the costs of disposal by the county council; Recycling food costs around half as much as putting it in the general waste bin.
The waste food we recycle in Oxfordshire is collected to generate renewable electricity and produces a fertiliser that is spread on local fields.
Rachel Burns, waste strategy manager at Oxfordshire County Council said: “For many people Christmas is about spending time with family and friends over a good feast and sometimes there is food waste.
"Before the festive season gets going, we are asking people to consider if they might be over-ordering.
"The average household throws away around £70/month of food, and more over Christmas; this equates to 74 million mince pies or five million Christmas puddings across the country.
"Each household in Oxfordshire throws away the equivalent weight of 1100 mince pies in waste food over the season."
Henry Owen, lead coordinator of the Replenish Project, a county council-funded scheme using volunteers to help residents reduce their food waste, added: “Turkey, bread sauce and sprouts are amongst the top five wasted foods at Christmas time.
"There will always be leftovers and there are some great recipes on Love Food Hate Waste website to help you use them up. Many leftovers can be safely frozen and eaten another day.”
“Oxfordshire’s food banks and community fridges will welcome surplus seasonal goods, tins, packets and long dated items in January when the need is great. Reducing food waste is one of the easiest things we can do to help the environment.”
Waste and recycling officers believe that with careful planning, food waste at Christmas and year-round can be significantly reduced. Love Food Hate Waste is a national website with a portion control calculator or you can download the free app.
According to Love Food Hate Waste, 86 million chickens or turkeys are thrown away uneaten in Britain every year. Its website also has a range of top tips on how to make the most of leftovers and also some excellent leftover recipes.
Rachel added: “Oxfordshire is already one of the best recycling areas in the country and more and more people tell us they are planning to have a ‘greener’ Christmas this year.
"We hope these tips will be useful and help to reduce the huge amount of extra waste generated during the festive period.
"Reducing how much we throw away and recycling food that can’t be eaten are some of the easiest things we can all do to help the environment.
"And remember - if your recycling bin is struggling to cope with all the extra cardboard, plastic and paper, put any that can’t fit into the bin in a clear plastic sack or cardboard box. Place it next to your bin on collection day.”
The Household Waste Recycling Centres will close at 3pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Otherwise they will be open as normal from 8am-5pm.