Green Christmas Ideas

This Christmas we’re bringing you some ideas for reducing your festive footprint. Small changes can make a big difference – better for you, your pockets and our planet. From the food we buy to the gifts we give, we’ve put together a guide for you to play your part this festive season.

Stuff the Turkey Not the Trolley! Planning your Christmas Food Shopping

Last year in Ireland, we spent an additional €95 million on groceries over the festive period! That’s a huge amount of food, and unfortunately, it also means lots of waste. It’s estimated that we generate around 1 million tonnes of food waste annually in Ireland. That’s around €700 worth of food going to waste from your home every year. During the festive period, this amount of food waste increases. We’ve got a quick guide to help you decrease the waste in your home this Christmas!

  • Make a list before you shop (and check it twice).
  • Only buy for what you need, think about the number of adults and kids that are coming.
  • Avoid seasonal marketing deals, do you really need 3 Christmas puddings?
  • Shop in your small, local businesses.
  • Make sure it will all fit into your fridge/freezer.
  • Check the packaging to make sure it’s recyclable. Black packaging isn’t recognised by scanners in recycling centers!
  • Bring your reusable bags to the shops with you!
  • Remember the shops are only closing for 1 day.
  • If someone asks what they can bring, have a list of what you’d like ready! Think wine, chocolate, nibbles or dessert.

‘Tis the Season to Be Conscious! Gifts, Packaging and Wrapping

We spend well over €4.5 billion at Christmas, with more than half the households in Ireland spending over €500 on gifts alone! And in doing so, we generate more than 83,000 tonnes of packaging waste over the festive period. That’s the equivalent of all the packaging waste that Galway and Limerick cities would produce in an entire year! Let’s face it, how many of us have a full recycling bin before we even get to Christmas Day?

Take a look over some tips to help decrease the quantity of waste you’re sending off!

Always ask yourself..

  • How and where was this item made and who made it?
  • What packaging will be left behind?
  • Will the receiver use it?
  • Plants, local and seasonal hampers or an outdoors experience are all helping the planet.
  • Look at your local producers, Irish gifts cut down on air miles and support local business and jobs.
  • Look for ethically sourced products or make homemade gifts.
  • Remember wrapping paper is generally not recyclable! Why not swap it out for an old-fashioned brown paper and string or use tote bags made from recycled materials which can then be reused.
  • You could make a charitable donation in someone’s name or buy them an activity like tickets to see a show.

Sustainable, Seasonal, Affordable! The Christmas Dinner!

During the lead-up to Christmas, we spend an additional €28 million on fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry alone.

The foods we serve up at a traditional Christmas dinner are a fantastic choice from a local and seasonal aspect. Turkey, ham, potatoes, carrots and brussels sprouts are all available here at home, raised and grown locally in our communities and it’s the right time of year for all this wonderful produce.

For Christmas meals, especially the big Christmas dinner, we tend to overbuy and cook too much. With a bit of planning, if we cut back just a little on the amount we buy and choose meat, poultry, veggies and fruits that are grown here at home, we can balance out the costs, reduce the waste, reduce the air miles, support our local businesses and really dial up the deliciousness!

  • Buy produce that was grown locally, this will reduce the air miles.
  • Think seasonal when you’re buying the food.
  • Portion sizes are key, you’re cooking more types of food, therefore, you’ll need less of each.
  • Can you make it at home? Think homemade before readymade.

Cold Turkey! Delicious Dishes from Christmas Leftovers!

Food waste can really pile up Post-Christmas dinner, a quick fridge inspection reveals tubs of mash, the chewy end bits of a smoked salmon, gooey, smelly cheese, a few slices of turkey, an abandoned net of sprouts down the back and Auntie Maureen’s homemade Christmas pudding, minus one slice.

The fewer you have the better, but we all end up with bits and pieces of food sitting in the fridge and presses post-Christmas. Say hello to the ingredients for some of the best meals you’ll ever taste!

Of course, to avoid food waste, it’d be best to really take time in planning your big Christmas shop, which will save on waste and would be kinder to your pocket, but if you do have leftovers, don’t get your tinsel in a twist, check out the thousands of recipes online for great ideas that will bring you closer to a Green Christmas.

Chef Shane Smith’s super simple leftover ice-cream recipe is a great way to use up your extra Christmas Pudding!

Christmas pudding Ice-Cream Serves 8

Ingredients

500ml single cream

1 tin (397g) condensed milk

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

200g leftover Christmas pudding

 

Method

Place a 2lb bread tin in the freezer.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream until thick.

Add the vanilla extract & condensed milk and mix well.

To this, fold in the crumbled Christmas pudding and spoon into the bread tin and place back into the freezer overnight.

Simply scoop & serve!

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream