Although many of us are becoming more conscious about reducing our effects on the environment, Christmas is a time when we may slip a bit. Ensure your Christmas is just as eco-friendly as the rest of the year with our top tips.

Choose recyclable wrapping paper

Although foil and glittery wrapping paper looks pretty, it is not good for the environment at all. The foil does not degrade and glitter adds to existing microplastics in our eco-system. Instead, opt for biodegradable wrapping paper that can easily be recycled. Avoid using sticky tape as this can also add to microplastics. Use natural twine instead. There are also plenty of tutorials online that show you how to wrap a gift without the use of tape. Another alternative is to use fabric wrappings made from natural fibres. The fabric can then be reused the following year.

Image courtesy: Ylanite Koppens

Send sustainable cards

Despite being made from cardboard, many cards cannot be recycled. This is due to the shiny coating used over the top. Choose cards that are recyclable and have the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) mark. This guarantees the paper has been produced sustainably and ethically. As an alternative to buying cards, why not have a go at making your own.

Image courtesy: Jonathan Borba

Choose a real tree

Although artificial trees are reusable, studies have shown that a fake tree requires 20 years of use for it to be greener. Choose a real tree instead as it is biodegradable and can be recycled in the new year. Ensure that it has been sustainably sourced and that it is disposed of responsibly after use. Alternatively, you can now rent a tree! This allows you to look after and enjoy the tree over the festive period, but rather than disposing of it, the company will pick it up and replant it for the following year.

Image courtesy: Stephen Paterson

Choose eco-friendly crackers

Replace single-use crackers with usable ones. This type of cracker allows you to add your own gift rather than a disappointing plastic toy that probably ends up in the bin. Fill it with edible treats or personalised gifts that are reusable. Another option is to buy recyclable crackers from a charity, so you’ll be giving to a good cause as well as helping the environment. 

Image courtesy: Nick Fewings

Reuse as much as possible

When buying for the festive season, think about how the products you are buying can be reused again and again. Why not reuse cards as gift tags for the following year by cutting out the image on the front of the card?

Image courtesy: Jez Timms

Take reusable bags when Christmas shopping

When Christmas shopping, ensure you take plenty of reusable bags. Not only is this option more environmentally friendly, it will also save you money on buying plastic bags at the supermarket. 

Image courtesy: Ginny Rose Stewart

Reduce food waste

Avoid wasting food by planning ahead. Make food lists for upcoming events and only cook what you need. Use leftovers for meals the following day. There are plenty of recipes online that will help you make use of your turkey and seasonal veg. Any food scraps can be composted or put in green waste bins.

Image courtesy:Caroline Hernandez

Buy eco-friendly gifts

Many gifts we buy for family and friends are made from plastic and are often not made to last. Select gifts that are certified as environmentally friendly. Look out for eco-logos, such as Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Energy Star and Palm Oil Free.

Buy gifts that are designed to last and that will be useful to the recipient long term.

As an alternative to buying gifts, why not gift a DIY present? Or how about a home-made edible treat? 

Image courtesy: Leeloo Thefirst

Switch to LED lights

LED lights are a great alternative to the standard incandescent lights. LEDs are more eco-friendly, using up to 80% less energy. Use solar powered lights for outdoors and ensure both indoor and outdoor lights are on a timer. This will help reduce energy consumption and your energy bill.

Image courtesy: Mariana Rascão

Opt for a reusable advent calendar

Standard advent calendars bought from the supermarket are usually full of components that cannot be recycled. Instead, opt for a reusable advent calendar. There are many designs to choose from and they can be filled with whatever sweet treat you like. Plus, it will save you money in the long run.

Image courtesy: David-Olivier Gascon



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