How to be more sustainable at Christmas

Here are some ideas so that you can be kinder to the planet this festive season!

Christmas cards

Not all Christmas cards are recyclable as some use plastic, glitter or dyes that can be harmful to the environment when disposed of. To get around this, you could send fully recyclable cards which have the Forest Stewardship Council stamp on them. Another alternative is to send seed paper cards. These are a great card and present in one and these can be planted in a pot and then the seeds, which are embedded in the card, will sprout and grow wildflowers and grasses! To completely make sure that no card goes to landfill, another option is to send an e-card to the recipient’s mobile number or email address.

Christmas trees

Get a potted Christmas tree that has been locally grown (ones with roots are good because you can re-plant them!). Ensure you dispose of your Christmas tree properly – either by planting it again if it’s one with roots, composting it, burning it or getting it turned into woodchips. In Bristol, you could buy a Christmas tree from ‘Refutree’ which are locally sourced Christmas trees and the money goes towards helping refugees and asylum seekers in Bristol.


Getting LED Christmas lights is easy! They use less power and last a lot longer than traditional Christmas lights. You can get battery powered lights if you’re short on cash or plugs but try and use rechargeable batteries then less will go to landfill when the batteries run out of charge. It might make more sense to buy plug-in Christmas lights as rechargeable batteries and the charger for them can be quite expensive to start with.


Now to think about presents and how to gift them. There are lots of different gifts that you could give over the festive period. You could gift durable products that have a long lifespan and will not need to be replaced anytime soon. Do some research on the gift you want to get and read reviews on how long the product will last and how good the build of it is. This may bump up the price a bit but it’ll create happier smiles on Christmas day and last longer anyway! Another way to give a sustainable gift is to regift your unwanted presents from the previous year. Before you try and sell off or donate your unwanted gifts, take time and think about who would appreciate it more and keep it for next year. This will save you money, add more thought to the gift since you did keep it a year, and make someone happier than you were the year you received that gift!

Wrapping paper

The other side of gifts is how you will gift them on the big day, what kind of wrapping paper, string, tape and tags are you using. This is very similar to the sustainable Christmas cards but try and get wrapping paper that isn’t coated in a thin layer of plastic or glitter, this makes it impossible to recycle. Try and get some brown paper that you see in old movies, when people would send parcels to someone when plastic was less commonly used! This brown paper is fully recyclable and gives a great vintage vibe to your wrapping. On to sticky tape, and as you have probably guessed, most sticky tapes are not recyclable and do contain plastic. Try using paper tape, again this is brown so may add to that vintage vibe you want, or look out for eco-friendly and recyclable versions of the best loved brands of sticky tape. I have seen some out there, maybe a little expensive but just one roll for this Christmas period will probably be enough!