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Tis The Season To Be… Sustainable.

Make green the new red this Christmas by consciously curbing your winter waste.

Just a few minor adjustments could help to save money (and carbon emissions) by following this simple guide.

Cut back on festive food waste 

Reducing food waste is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and save you money.
Food waste costs the average Irish household about €60 per month or €700 per year. Make the most of your precious moolah by following these simple tips:

Planning is key 
Take time to plan your meals, write a shopping list and stick to it. Don’t be tempted by all of those flashy festive promos.

Use up your leftovers
Don’t let leftovers go to waste; get creative and use them in your next delicious meal. Omelettes, stews, curries, toasties and soups are great ways to use leftover ingredients. Make sure there’s plenty of space in your freezer to store anything that won’t keep in the fridge.

Share the love 
Invite friends and family over to feast with you, or spread a little Christmas cheer by gifting packaged items to food banks or local food charities.
Download the food-sharing App - Olio - to soak up the good vibes, knowing you’ve helped someone local and the planet.

Eat more sustainably 

Buying local seasonal produce is a great way to reduce your food footprint at Christmas whilst supporting your local community. Win/Win! Be mindful when shopping for fruit and vegetables at Christmas, and choose ingredients that are in season during the winter period.

Seasonal foods are typically cheaper, fresher, and more flavourful. Best of all, they will have travelled far fewer food miles than other exotic alternatives. Take a look at the Bord Bia helpful tool to help you discover which ingredients are currently in season.

Embrace plant based

It’s no secret that the majority of meat production comes at the expense of a large carbon footprint. Rather than removing it entirely from your menu, how about supplementing smaller meat portions with a few mouthwatering plant-based dishes?

How does oven-roasted spiced butternut squash Wellington sound with wild mushroom duxelles? Or how about a decadent broccoli and vegan bechamel bake? Refried roasties make the perfect breakfast accompaniment to a veggie fry-up…

Get your Chef’s hat on, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Better still, you could pop Compass Ireland’s Plant-based Ambassador, Holly White’s: “Vegan-ish: A Gentle Introduction to a Plant-Based Diet” cookbook on your Xmas wish list.

Streamline your food packaging

Wherever you can, opt for fresh food items with minimal to zero packaging. More often than not, they’re cheaper than their pre-packaged counterparts. Just bring a bag with you during your next shop.

If you purchase items with packaging, try to recycle them to prevent waste from going to landfill. Ditch the cling film and zip-lock bags to store leftovers; instead, choose reusable containers. It pays to hold on to those empty glass jars from jams, sauces and condiments to keep your precious leftovers.

Gift more sustainably 

Buy your loved one’s gifts that will last. Novelty items and fast fashion often end up in landfill. Avoid giving unwanted gifts to cut back on waste and the carbon needed to make them in the first place. Thinking long and hard about the gift you will buy means it’s much more likely to be appreciated and enjoyed.

Try to avoid impulse buys or give the recipient a gift receipt so they can exchange it for something they want! We think the Grinch was on to something… "Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more."

Approximately 11.8 million kilos of carbon dioxide are emitted each year just manufacturing Christmas wrapping paper, according to carbon footprint tool Giki. So, it's time to get creative (again).

Decorate old shoe boxes with your finest festive doodles or repurpose recycled and recyclable brown paper instead of wrapping paper. You could pop presents into a festive hamper basket (reusable) or wrap gifts with a festive scarf or tea towel. To work out your carbon footprint and access advice and guidance to reduce it, download the Giki Zero Carbon Footprint App here.