Food Waste at Christmas

Picture of a cooked turkey in relation to food waste at Christmas

Christmas is a time for giving but sadly it is also a time for wasting. Food waste is a big problem in the UK, especially at Christmas. Last year it was estimated that 4.2 million Christmas dinners were thrown in the bin across the UK. This overall total was £64 million of squandered food.

What Food is Getting Thrown Away?


Shockingly 7.9 million slices of turkey are being thrown away at Christmas. Which is equivalent to 263,000 turkeys! There are so many alternatives for your leftover meat, including a variety of sandwiches, that there really is no need to throw is all away. If you are a culprit of wasting turkey, why not just buy the crown instead of the whole bird?


11.3 million roast potatoes are also put in the bin. Everyone loves a potato so we can’t really explain this one! You have lots of options for what you can do with your potato leftovers; you could turn them into fishcakes and freeze them or they are perfect for bubble and squeak on boxing day.


The amount of gravy wasted is enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool which equates to 9.8 million cups. The great thing about gravy is that you can freeze it and use it for your casseroles for added flavour throughout the year.

Vegetables and Other Goodness

On top of all this, 7.1 million pigs in blankets are disposed of… This isn’t a problem in our household where pigs in blankets are often what everyone is fighting over.

As well as this a further 9 million carrots and 10.9 million parsnips are equally thrown in the trash. Similar to all the other leftovers these can be made into some great dishes, like soup!

How to Reduce Food Waste at Christmas

To tackle the food waste crisis there are a handful of tips to prepare yourself to reduce the amount you waste over the festive period.

Preparation is key!

If you are the Christmas host, take out some time to plan everything in advance. This will prevent the unnecessary last-minute panic buy. Do you really think you’ll need 6 bags of potatoes to feed a party of 10?

Hopefully, you will know how many people are coming for tea which will allow you to plan accordingly. If you know that a turkey crown will be enough to feed your guests then don’t go over the top and buy the whole bird.  

Loose Vegetables

Buying loose vegetables will not only allow you to reduce your waste but you’ll also cut down on single-use plastic too. Buying the bigger bags which may seem cheaper could mean that you are buying more than you need to…

Storage Space

You need to ensure you have the right size storage space for all the food you plan to buy. Without this, some foods may spoil quicker.

However, you can use the weather to your advantage and if you have an outbuilding or safe place to put hardy veg outside if you haven’t got enough space in your freezer they will continue to stay fresh.


This Christmas lets all be more mindful about what we are buying. Planning ahead is your strongest asset to minimising waste, utilise it. Keep the giving to just gifts and not to the trash!


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