Have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas

Have yourself an eco-friendly Christmas

It’s official, Christmas has arrived! Decorations are up in homes, Instagram feeds are full of Gingerbread Lattes, and weekends are spent online Christmas shopping for loved ones.

But, with the influx of parcels set to be delivered over the festive season comes the inevitable increase of waste sent to landfill – from Amazon boxes filled with unrecyclable polystyrene, to glittered wrapping paper, plastic packaging and Christmas dinner leftovers.

In 2019 councils across the country saw a huge increase of waste collected at the start of the festive season. Northumberland County Council saw a staggering 433-tonne increase in waste collected in the first weeks of December compared to the last weeks in November. That’s the weight of over 43 million Brussels sprouts!

Birmingham City Council also saw a 337-tonne increase for the first half of December, with Cardiff’s waste collection increasing by 107-tonnes at the start of the month – the weight of over quarter of a million traditional mince pies!

That’s why for this year we’ve put together some top tips on how to reduce waste over the festive period. From how to recycle your tree, to trying out vegan products this Christmas – there’s lots to try!

Top tips for an eco-friendly Christmas


Choose a real tree this Christmas

If you’re still deciding whether to opt for the real deal or go for a plastic tree, buying a locally sourced pine tree is the most sustainable option this Christmas.

According to The Carbon Trust, a real pine tree has a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to its plastic counterpart.

In fact, a two-metre plastic Christmas tree produces a staggering 36.5kg more carbon than a real-two metre pine tree that is properly disposed of.

Real Christmas trees can also easily be recycled once the festivities are over. Many local authorities even arrange drop-off points or organise collections in January, before shredding the trees into chippings that can be used in the local area.

Recycle Now has created a handy Recycling Locator Tool which should help you to find out details for your region.

Use alternatives to wrapping paper

Did you know that over five million tonnes of Christmas wrapping paper goes to landfill each year? Give traditional wrapping paper a miss this year, and instead try out creative alternatives that double up as an additional gift for the lucky recipient.

Silk scarves make for excellent wrapping material, and they look beautiful too. Companies like Wrag Wrap also create reusable eco fabric wrapping products to make your presents look pretty.

Alternatively, go for a retro feel with classic brown paper, decorated with handmade paper bows – all of which can be recycled once the big day has passed.

Choose eco-friendly products for your Christmas cleaning

The only downside to a classic Christmas dinner is the number of pots and pans that need washing once you’re done. With this, and the inevitable chocolate fingerprints from little hands around the house, there’s a lot of cleaning to be done once the big day has ended.

Opt for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional cleaning products to lessen your impact on the environment whilst doing your Christmas cleaning. It’s shocking that many traditional household cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that can potentially damage our wildlife and the environment.

Check the back of your cleaning products and avoid ingredients like synthetic perfumes, phosphates and optical brighteners – all of which negatively impact the planet. You can find more ingredients to avoid here.

Utilise Christmas dinner waste

It rings true that we always overprepare when it comes to making Christmas dinner. Cooking for a full table is no easy feat, and there’s nothing worse than the thought of running out of food when you’re the host!

This often means that there’s a lot left over that could potentially go to waste.

When you’ve had enough of leftover Christmas food you can put any waste in a home composter to create a natural, nutrient-rich food for your garden plants.

This prevents your food from ending up in landfill, where it would contribute to the 4.1 million tonnes of food waste that ends up in landfill each year.

Try out new vegan launches

Turkey may be the staple of a classic Christmas roast dinner, but did you know that the livestock sector – raising cows, pigs and chickens – generates the same greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined?

Take advantage of the recent surge of vegan ranges released in 2020 and switch out some of your Christmas selection for plant-based alternatives this festive season – it’s good for you and the environment!


Looking for more Christmas content? Read our top tips on making a vegan Christmas dinner here!