Research shows that our personal carbon footprints are highest during the festive period. However, there is a way to have a carbon-friendly Christmas without looking like Scrooge.

The Cool Food campaign, which encourages people to make small changes to their shopping and eating habits in order to cut carbon emissions, has created a list of ten top tips to help people be kinder to the environment this Christmas.

  1. Carefully consider how many people are coming to dinner and how much food you need to purchase to feed them all.
  2. Avoid unnecessary waste and put your Christmas leftovers to good use. Studies have shown that approximately 4.2 million Christmas dinners are wasted each year. This equates to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies and 17.2 million Brussels sprouts! Turn your Christmas leftovers into an elegant pie, a spicy curry or a colourful tagine.
  3. In Britain, we tend to think the ‘traditional’ Christmas dinner is all about the turkey. But, a typical turkey roast with all the trimmings has double the carbon emissions of a vegan nut roast meal. Consider dropping meat from your menu and choosing a vegan or vegetarian alternative.
  4. If you can’t get past the meat craving, try to source free-range or organic options, and support small-scale farming where possible.
  5. To minimise food waste, allow your guests to serve themselves.
  6. Turn your leftovers into a meal for a neighbour who may be spending the festive season alone.
  7. Don’t overdo it on the cheese. Dairy products take a lot of energy to produce and process, yet research suggests that 2.2 million kilograms of cheese end up in the bin during the festive period.
  8. Instead of boiling or roasting, consider steaming your vegetables (preferably in a single batch).
  9. Over the festive period, ‘Buy one get one free’ offers and deals fill our supermarket shelves. These offers can lead to additional unwanted food items. Consider donating these items to your local food bank or homeless shelter.
  10. There’s nothing more festive than the smell of mulled wine brewing on the hob. Make your wine using organic or vegan wines for the most sustainable options.

Cool Food is a cross-channel project between the Cornwall Food Foundation, Al’Terre Breizh and PECT (the Peterborough Environment City Trust), which has been funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England 2014-2020 programme.