Have Yourself a Merry (Eco) Christmas

Have Yourself a Merry (Eco) Christmas


With all the excess packaging, food waste and energy usage, Christmas can be not so merry for the environment.  Here are some tips and information to help you make your Christmas a greener one. 






  • Look for cards made from recycled card and paper, or those produced with virgin paper that comes from managed forests. 
  • Avoid cards that feature glitter, plastic or other decorations that may not be recyclable. 
  • Try to avoid cards that use a lot of ink or dyes, ideally find those made with vegetable-based inks or produced with low alcohol printing. 
  • Make your own! Using spare resources means no extra emissions have gone into the production of the card. 
  • Send an e-card, whilst not a carbon-free method it avoids emissions that may be created by a card.
  • Don’t send one. Whilst cards are traditional and fun to receive, a phone call can work just as well if you can’t meet up. 
  • Save Christmas cards and cut them up into tags for presents next year.


  • Buying recycled or preloved presents saves on waste and the emissions associated with buying new. 
  • Buy good quality presents that will be useful and last.  If you are unsure what to buy, ask for a list of things the recipient would like. 
  • Gift cards give the recipient the chance to choose a present that they want. 
  • Unwanted gifts can be donated to charities which will save on waste and also benefit the charity they go to. 

 Wrapping Paper 

  • Try to find recycled wrapping paper that hasn’t been wrapped in plastic film.  Some wrapping papers use plastics or glitter which makes them unrecyclable.  Recycled brown paper can be used and easily decorated. 
  • Save and re-use wrapping paper and present bags.  
  • Re-usable fabric wrapping made from recycled material such as old saris can be used over and over. 
  • Don’t forget to look into environmentally friendly compostable, paper-based tape.
  • If you have old fabrics or papers, consider making your own wrapping paper! 

Other Recycling 

  • Recycle cardboard packaging or find another use for the cardboard.  You could use it to make holiday decorations for next year. 
  • Plastic, glass and cans should also be recycled where possible.  Check with your local authority about Christmas collection dates. 
  • Try to plan your Christmas meals to avoid food waste.  Find ways to use leftovers or freeze any food you can’t use immediately.  If you have any leftover food from Christmas that really cannot be eaten, make sure it’s composted. 


  • Buy a pot-grown Christmas tree that can be used year after year if looked after.
  • Real Christmas trees can be recycled into wood chippings and mulch. Contact your local authority to find out if they offer this service. Alternatively, you can compost your tree. 
  • Use eco-friendly LED Christmas lighting. 
  • Remember to turn Christmas lights off overnight or when you’re not at home to save electricity. 
  • Avoid buying new Christmas decorations that may be made from unrecyclable plastics. 
  • Keep as many decorations as you can and use then year after year. 


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