16 tips for an eco-friendly Christmas

December 14, 2019

If you’re looking to reduce your waste this christmas look no further, with this guide to an eco-friendly Christmas you can pass on plastic, food waste and more. You'll be well on your way to a zero-waste Christmas..


“It’s the most wastefuuuul time of yeaaar” whether or not you’re getting into the festive spirit Christmas is hard to ignore, one guarantee of Christmas is waste. Whether that’s over indulging in food and drink or purchasing those novelty presents you know are headed for the bin come boxing day, waste is all around us this time of year.

#Tip 1 Ditch plastic decorations

Purchasing new decorations is thankfully falling, with 49% of Americans stating they don’t buy Christmas decorations. If you’re in the less sustainable 51% of people buying new Christmas decorations every year, consider handmade options:

  • Foraged wreathes made with pine cones
  • Cinnamon and dried orange garlands in place of tinsel
  • Ever green sprigs as festive ornaments

Natural hand made additions like the above look beautiful and festive without being harmful to the planet.

home made xmas decorations

Source: @taylor.pforwords


Tip #2 Try a real tree in a pot

If you’re considering buying a real pine or spruce tree this Christmas consider opting instead for a potted tree you can reuse over and over, if spruce or pine trees have difficulty surviving where you live, consider opting for a less conventional but equally awesome tree.

If you’re one of those that have opted for a fake tree, don’t throw it out! Reuse what you have first, don’t forget the number one zero-waste principal.

Tip #3 Consider pre-loved gifts

one man's trash is another’s treasure

Never has this quote been more relevant than the over spending festive period, buying new often means the old equivalent with plenty of life is destined to be waste.

Switch it up and try buying second hand gifts this year, if you’re worried about coming across as a cheapskate try a bit of festive eco-friendly packaging and you can spruce up your fab pre loved gift.

Tip #4 Opt for reusable wrapping

Wrapping paper is super unsustainable for a few reasons; mainly due to the fact it is used once and thrown away and also that the mix and low quality materials it is made from mean that it can be difficult or even impossible to recycle.

In the UK alone 227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away every year.

A fantastic alternative is probably already in your home, pieces of fabric such as scarves, tshirts and blankets as well as parchment and brown paper can be used and more importanly reused to wrap up xmas presents. A piece of twine and festive sprig can be added to make it all that more special and sustainable!


eco friendly wrapping paper

Tip #5 give experiences over stuff

Let’s face it chances are most of us don’t need any more random stuff, sure there’s essentials but those trinkets we accumulate over Christmas are ultimately destined for one place, landfill. This year try gifting experiences to your loved ones instead.

Some great experiences you could gift include spa retreats, vouchers for restaurants, stays away and more.


Tip #6 cut card waste

Every year 1.5 billion christmas cards are thrown away. A great alternative comes in the form of e-cards. E-cards are electronic cards you can deliver via email and text, they’re just as festive without the waste and with the added bonus of being cheap and sometimes even free!

If you want to give a physical card try a home made card or seed card as a more sustainable alternative to disposable cards.


Tip #7 rethink those lawn illuminations

Whether you’re on the side that loves lighting up your garden or those that groan when they drive past the local light displays one things impossible to ignore - this energy intensive tradition is pretty unsustainable.

NASA state some locations in the US are 50% brighter between thanksgiving and new years day, not only are these Christmas light displays a waste of energy the light pollution they produce can be disruptive to nocturnal animals too.

Instead this year try some natural and foraged Christmas decorations (like those in tip #1) in your garden.

eco-friendly christmas decorations

Source: @naturallycadie


Tip #8 switch to LED lighting

An essential Christmas decoration for most are Christmas lights but not all Christmas lights are created equal. For your lights ensure you’re using LEDs. LED lights use 75% less energy and can last 25x longer when compared to traditional bulbs.

Check out LED Christmas light options here.

Tip #9 Get crafty with your calendar

Eating chocolate before your eyes are even open might be frowned upon by your dentist but its a super important Christmas tradition, okay?

If you can’t go without your Christmas calendar but are put off by all the waste consider reusable options. 

You can buy reusable calendars from outlets such as notonthehighstreet or you can get creative and make your own like this great hand made calendar from myscandinavianhome:


handmade christmas calendar

Source: myscandanavianhome.com


Tip #10 Donate or sell those unwanted gifts

Whether it’s distant relatives mistaking your shoe size or that inevitable distasteful Christmas jumper. Recieving unwanted gifts is as much a tradition of Christmas as savouring a mince pie. But what to do with those mounds of unwanted things?

If your gift is worth a bob or two consider selling on marketplaces like ebay, gumtree and depop and earn some cash while you’re at it or you could consider donating your gifts to gift drives or charity shops.

Tip #11 Be a food waste fighter this Christmas

Just because it's a particularly indulgent time of year for some doesn't mean we should lose track of our zero-waste goals. Never is food waste more of a problem at Christmas where the average person consumes 6,000 calories in one day!

Don't forget your principals of food waste, fear not we've created a guide to reducing your food waste check out the post here.

Tip #12 get creative with Christmas leftovers

Despite going back for seconds or even thirds there’s often tonnes of food left over after the Christmas dinner which is normally destined for the bin.

Before you throw decent food, get creative with those leftovers by trying some great Christmas leftover recipes:

  • Curries from leftover meats and veges
  • Sandwiches
  • Pies and bakes
  • Bubble and squeak

Anything else can be frozen until inspiration strikes!

Tip #13 Pass on food packaging

Most festive foods come laden in over the top packaging, avoid this where you can buy opting for shopping in bulk stores. Make sure any packaging you do end up with is recycled appropriately.


Tip #14 recycle your tree

Those sad looking post-Christmas trees naked with no needles are a metaphor for most people’s feels post after Christmas as they have to trudge back into work but you don’t have to let that old Christmas tree be destined for landfill.

Christmas trees can be recycled into wood chippings that can be used in local gardens and parks, stick your local town and Christmas tree recycling into google to find out where you can take your tree for recyling.

Tip #15 plastic-free presents

Most people want something to open on Christmas and there’s no shame in that, the act of giving and receiving on Christmas is a great way to let friends and loved ones know just how special they are.

Extend that act of love to the environment by purchasing plastic-free gifts - we make some awesome sustainable alternative to plastic polluting items you can find here, or over here if you shop on amazon.co.uk.


soseas metal straws


#Tip 16 Ditch wasteful Christmas crackers

A cheesy joke, party hat and breakable plastic toy are just as quickly tossed as the crackers are pulled.

Ditch Christmas crackers this festive season, if you can't pass up on the tradition check out some eco-friendly Christmas cracker options here.

There we have it, 16 tips you can implement this festive season to give waste the boot and pass on plastic. Hope you’ve found these tips useful enjoy your Christmas and we’ll be back with more eco-friendly content in the new year!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.