insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 69 Dec 2017 - Page 137

CHRISTMAS ECO-FRIENDLY CHRISTMAS cont. The big one: food THINK ABOUT THE IMPACT OF YOUR FESTIVE FEAST The UK’s food wastage is outrageously high throughout the entire year – 7.3 million tonnes of household food waste was binned in 2015 at an eye-watering value of £13 billion – so it’s something that we all need to be more aware of anyway. At Christmas, a time at which we buy some 16.5 million turkeys, it’s likely that these levels peak, but there are ways and means to be more mindful about it. of water, a process that overall results in five times the amount of climate-warming emissions being released. If you’re a supermarket shopper, have a look in your fridge now and you’ll be amazed at where you’ve sourced your food from – on quick glance in mine, I’m rather ashamed to admit I’ve spotted kale from Morocco, lettuce from Spain and sugar snap peas from Peru! By the time the ingredients that make up the average British Christmas dinner arrive on our plates, they’re estimated to have travelled a combined distance of 49,000 miles – taking into account turkey from Europe, vegetables from Africa, wine from the southern hemisphere and cranberries from America, the turkey and all its trimmings add up to the equivalent of 6,000 car trips around the world. Food Carbon’s Footprint Calculator is an interesting tool to gain some perspective here – head to www.foodcarbon.co.uk to check some of your ingredients. In that light, choosing turkey is a far more ethically-conscious choice than choosing beef at least, but whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or a meat eater, the eco-friendliest way to eat is to buy locally and organic wherever possible, which will reduce the impact of your meal on the environment and taste better too – millions of turkeys are eaten every Christmas, so if you’re one of the many that can’t resist, make sure it’s been reared in humane conditions. The question as to whether opting to eat a vegetarian Christmas dinner over a meat-based one is in fact far greener rears its head annually. It seems, beef is the biggest culprit here though. The environmental impact of eating beef dwarfs that of other meats and research has shown that eating less red meat could be as effective at cutting your carbon emissions as giving up your car. It requires 28 times the amount of land to produce beef than chicken or turkey and 11 times the amount We do seem to adopt an irrational, supermarket sweep sort of mindset when doing the ‘big Christmas shop’ too, so treats and mandatory cheeseboards aside, do try and plan what your family and guests will eat and what they won’t to avoid buying too much surplus, and, whenever you do cook, make sure you put your vegetable leftovers in a compost bin, or compost heap in the garden. Buy your fruit and vegetables loose and ditch all that wasteful plastic packaging; make sure the produce that is packaged is done so in recycled materials; buy drinks in bigger bottles rather than small ones as one large bottle generates less waste than several smaller ones; try to avoid serving people with paper or plastic plates and cups if you are entertaining; and, don’t forget to pack your shopping into reusable shopping bags. In a nutshell, it’s absolutely possible to have a very merry and yet much more green Christmas, so plan ahead and your eased eco-conscience will savour every bite, sip and fuzzy gift-giving feeling just that little bit more. 137