To bin or not to bin, that is the question!

Professor Dianne Dean is Professor of Consumption Values and Practices, in Sheffield Business School. Di and colleague Dr Pallavi Singh, Senior Lecturer in Marketing, lead the SHUFood SWEFS (Surplus, Waste and Excess Food in Society) cluster. Below, Di helps to get into the holiday spirit with some tips on reducing food waste. 

Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash

As we are approach holiday and celebratory events (at whatever time of year!), we encounter the perennial problem on what to do with what’s left of the food we have bought (just in case we need…more cheese, fruit, cream, drinks, sausage meat, etc., etc.). For example, many of us face the question, post-Christmas, of what to do with leftovers once we’ve had the ‘grand reveal’ (as they say in the cookery magazines!) of the succulent turkey and all the trimmings.

Rather than just ignore what is in the fridge and pretending it isn’t there (or waiting until it grows teeth and tries to jump out and get you!), we can look to try to save some of the food from going to landfill, biowaste dumps or wherever your local council deals with food waste. Plus, it saves money!!

Let’s save those councils some work (and again money) by thinking creatively about how we can use up the stuff in the fridge. Turkey curry is often the go-to recipe, but there are many other exciting and tasty options. For some, it might be preferable to have something quick to prepare, after the exhausting work that goes into making Christmas such a memorable event (well, that’s the plan). For others, they might want to use up leftovers in a more creative way, honing their skills as they dream of appearing on MasterChef.

Below are a few recipes that offer ideas for using up surplus food, reducing food waste, and helping the planet—and saving money into the bargain.

Some may want warming comfort food during the frequently miserable cold January:

Others may be looking for healthier options to help with new year’s resolutions:

There are also a number of websites that provide tasty leftover recipe ideas, including:

  • Respect Food is an excellent website that categorises ingredients alphabetically so you can easily find a recipe for almost any type of leftover food.
  • Good Food Christmas Leftover recipes has a collection of recipes designed to use up food from the Christmas period, from this well-known cookery magazine.
  • Great British Chefs: the website provides an innovative approach to using up surplus food, including some really nice recipes from some of the top chefs in the country.

I hope these recipes provide some inspiration for using up surplus food and reducing waste. More generally, Pallavi and I are very keen to promote the reduction of food waste in households. We have recently finished a project with Sheffield City Council as they trialled a new household food waste collection service. After interviewing a number of people in the pilot areas, we found that there was pride in using the new bin correctly and placing it out for collection. We also found that many people were actively seeking to reduce waste and were disappointed when the trial period was completed. We hope the research we conducted will help SCC provide a clean and efficient system for collecting food waste, and maximise its value.

Finally, we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.  Enjoy your cooking!

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Filed under food practices, food waste, sustainability, SWEFS Surplus Waste and Excess Food in Society