Families urged to eat ice cream rather than Christmas pudding to save the planet

Big Brother in the UK is in overdrive.

By STEVE DOUGHTY – More by this author » Last updated at 23:16pm on 21st December 2007

Families should give up Christmas pudding to help save the planet, Government advisers said yesterday.

They suggested that rather than serving up a dessert that often goes to waste, cooks should reheat whatever leftover mincemeat they have to hand and serve it with ice cream.

The advisers from the Waste and Resources Action Programme, the £80millionayear state body set up to encourage recycling, said ice cream was an excellent accompaniment because unused quantities could be returned to the freezer, again cutting waste.

* Wrappy Christmas – how the big stores are over-packing festive food with mountains of non-biodegradable wrapping

It warned cooks that “buying the right amount of food and getting portions right” was especially challenging at Christmas.

The advice from the organisation – which last year told councils to bring in fortnightly rubbish collections during winter so that no one would notice the smells – has proved controversial.

Last night, a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Surely at the festive season quangos could take a break from bossing people around.

“It seems that WRAP are on a mission to use public money to hector and patronise the public at a time when everyone wants to relax and have a good time with their loved ones.”

But Liz Goodwin, the chief executive of the recycling group, said the amount of waste food rises by 80 per cent over Christmas, much of it going to landfill where it produces greenhouse gases.

“By taking a few simple steps we could reduce the amount of food being wasted, which would have a big impact,” she added. “Stopping this amount of food waste each year would be the same as taking one in five cars off UK roads.”

The group also suggested that uneaten cheese could be frozen or used in a soup. Onion left over from bread sauce should be chopped and mixed into the turkey stuffing.

Another suggestion was that leftover vegetables and meat could be made into a Boxing Day soup.

The organisation said 230,000 tons of food worth £275million is thrown away over Christmas and New Year.

Ainsley Harriott, the celebrity chef recruited by the quango, said families should “think before they cook”.

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Clare Swinney

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