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Scotland (and the Rest of Us) Urged to Shop, Cook Thoughtfully to Prevent Holiday Food Waste

As we indulge in holiday goodies, food waste becomes an inevitable consequence. This holiday season, a projected 50,375 tons of food and drink will be thrown out; Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) is aiming to show citizens how to avoid this – and to save money – simply by shopping smart and avoiding food waste.

According to figures from ZWS, in December alone Scots are expected to throw away over 3.5 million mince pies, more than 240,000 Christmas puddings, and the equivalent of over 100,000 turkeys. Using these items up – or not over-buying them in the first place – could represent a potential saving of over £3 million.

Action and a string of new innovations aimed at tackling household food waste has already seen the amount generated drop by 6 percent (between 2009 and 2014), resulting in a saving to household budgets of £92 million.

“At Christmas it can be tempting to buy – and therefore waste – more food,” said Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. “But with a little preparation people can save money and be kinder to the environment. In Scotland we are working towards a 33 percent reduction in food waste by 2025. That’s the most ambitious target in Europe, and everyone in Scotland has an important part to play in helping the country achieve that goal.”

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Here are some of Zero Waste Scotland’s recommendations for cutting down food and drink waste this Christmas and saving money:


  • Keep festive leftovers aside to make some quick and easy recipes – get a head start on Boxing Day dinner.
  • Freezing the food left over can save cash. Freeze as soon as possible – within two days – and eat within three months.
  • Just about anything can be frozen. Cream (whip it a little beforehand) and cheeses such as Stilton freeze well; put them in an airtight bag or container and store in the freezer.
  • With leftover salad or lettuce leaves, put a piece of paper towel/kitchen roll in the bottom of a pot, add the leaves and then seal. This will keep them fresh for much longer than leaving in the bag.

New Year’s resolutions – cutting down on food waste next year

  • Attempt a big food shop only with a prepared shopping list to avoid buying too much.
  • Check cupboards first before going shopping as you may already have the ingredients needed.
  • Save a lot of time by washing, chopping, bagging and freezing vegetables in advance; they will retain the same nutritional value as if prepared fresh.

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