The Recycling Council of British Columbia offers tips on how to prepare and share a zero-waste feast.
Know how many guests will be over for dinner. Plan accordingly using an online food calculator to determine the size of turkey and the amount of sides you will need to buy.
Shop your fridge and pantry first. Use the stuff on your spice rack or that can of corn or cranberry sauce in the back before buying new stuff!
Don’t forget your reusable bags. Keep them by the door or in your car for easy access. Invest in reusable produce bags that keeps veggies fresh for longer.
If this is your first time hosting a feast and you aren’t sure how much food to prepare, consider the Whole Foods Servings Calculator at www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/servings-calculator.
If possible, shop at a farmer’s market and support local businesses. Shopping locally strengthens local economies, builds community, and reduces pollution due to shorter shipping distances. Shop in the bulk aisle.
Bring your own bags or containers to fill to make even less waste. Why buy a whole jar of a spice when you only need a teaspoon? Choose goods with minimal or easily recyclable packaging in mind.
Refer to your local recycling program or call the RCBC Hotline to ask what’s accepted and what’s not.
Zero waste decor
Create your own decoration and centerpieces with things found in nature. Pine cones and boughs can be used to spruce up the dinner table. Leafy greens can be used as edible focal points. Invest in cloth napkins and reusable tableware that can be washed and used over and over again. Purchase local wines or beers to reduce shipping impact. Get a growler from local breweries and get them refilled. Choose wines with either a twist off top or a real cork so they can be recycled.
Greening the clean
Utilize your dishwasher to its full potential. Research has found that dishwashers tend to use 1/2 the energy and 1/6 of the water compared to handwashing. Choose an eco-friendly dish soap. Choose products with plant based ingredients and products that are free of chlorine and other harsh chemicals.
Keep your recycling bins in the open and be sure to let guests know what items can go into each bin. All your recycling is then already source-separated and ready to go! Built.
Treasure those leftovers
Pack any leftovers that won’t be or can’t be used up right away into Tupperware and put them into your freezer for use at a later time. Encourage guests to bring Tupperware so you can send food home with them. No fuss, no muss! Save any vegetable peelings, roots, stalks, leaves or ends from food prep and use them to make a warm and comforting vegetable stock.
For ideas on how to use leftovers, consider Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Leftover Recipes at https://www.jamieoliver.com/christmas/collection/leftovers.