WasteSmart.org: Seven simple tips to minimize food waste this festive season


WasteSmart.org: Seven simple tips to minimize food waste this festive season

By Kunlere Idowu

It’s that time of the year again when we celebrate with loved ones. However, a major downside of festive seasons is that, in spite of the efforts that go into planning for and hosting our friends, colleagues, neighbours and family, so much food gets wasted and ends up in the dustbin. To assist you in checkmating this drawback, we have drawn up a list of seven simple tips to minimize food waste this festive season:


  1. Get a fair estimate of the number of guests you will be hosting.

It would be pointless to make plans for people who eventually won’t show up. Aside food waste being a financial drainpipe, the stress and effort it amounts to nought can be quite demoralizing. Hence, before you dash for the market or to your kitchen, be sure you have an idea of the number of guests you will be hosting.


  1. Go shopping on time but buy only the stuff you will really be needing

Avoid rush orders or late hour preparation. When you leave shopping too late, you get hysterical, and at the mercy of artificial market forces, leaving you with little to leverage on. So, you end up buying whatever is available rather then the best quality, or quite often too, you tend to buy more than what you would need. Early shopping takes care of all that; it ensures you get price, quantity and at the best time. It also ensures you have enough time to rest well and plan for other details.


  1. If you are trying out new recipes for the first time, proceed with a handful rather than the entire ingredients

Yes, variety is the spice of life and it is always cool to try out new stuff, but caution is always a virtue when surfing in unfamiliar waters. Trying a new recipe for the first time can be unpredictable, so, you need a rock-solid plan that ensures you win, whatever the outcome may be.


Since you cannot exactly tell how the meal would turn out on your first try, l would advise that you start out with as moderate portions of the recipe as possible. If things don’t turn out as planned, you would have minimised your loss. But if things turn out well, you would have learnt a new trick the easiest possible way.


Also read: “Christmas Eve: Four hard truths about food waste in Africa”


  1. If you are ordering food, make sure your orders are delivered fresh, to taste, and at the right quantity!

With various cooked and uncooked food outlets now on the market, entertaining guests during festive season has never been easier. You get to choose which service you want. But in choosing, don’t settle for anything less than the best. Ensure the food you order, cooked or uncooked, are delivered in the best possible conditions. Watch out for stale pies, pizzas, and the likes as well as expired pastes, ketchup etc. You cannot rule out any possibility. Take a minute to read the label. Be vigilant.


  1. When entertaining your guests, ask for their preferences, then, serve appropriately and moderately.

It is courtesy to take the order of your guests before going on to dish their food. Don’t assume. Dish the food only after you’ve taken their orders. Then while fishing the food, don’t dish out an Everest where a moderate portion would suffice. This is also particularly important when children are to be entertained.


  1. Share food with neighbours

What is Christmas if you eat all your goodies alone! Christmas is nothing if you don’t share its joy with others. There are folks- above and below your ladder- in your neighbourhood who could surely use some love this season, reach out to them. Rather than throwing excess food away at the end of the feast, share gifts and food with them. And if you would share, plan to in advance.


  1. No waste is an absolute waste.

At the core of our work message at wastesmart.org is the resounding theme; no waste is an absolute waste, and every waste has a use even if we do not yet know it.


If there are leftovers, before you dash for the dustbin, figure out what could be re-used, what could salvaged from the lot or who in the neighbourhood could make do with a part of the leftovers. Not all leftovers are useless after all.


Part of being a responsible member of society is ensuring to progressively reduce the volume of waste you generate and learning to dispose of your wastes in a responsible manner. Waste properly disposed of at designated places, can then be sustainably harnessed by other stakeholders to create added values that advance society. There are a thousand and one benefits that can be derived by wastes, so you shouldn’t indiscriminately dump yours. That’s the essence of sustainable waste management!


As you celebrate with your loved ones this festive season, always ensure you derive maximum value from everything, and also do well to remember that everything, including food waste, has a use.


From all of us at wastesmart.org, merry Christmas and a happy new year in advance.

Kunlere Idowu

Kunlere is an environment and sustainable development strategist with years of active experience in environmental compliance monitoring and enforcement. You may follow him on Twitter via @kunlere_idowu


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