Five planet-friendly steps to take around the festive period

Becky Banham
By Becky Banham,
updated on Dec 15, 2020

Five planet-friendly steps to take around the festive period

Christmas might be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s a pretty wasteful time, too. Here are some simple ways to reduce your consumption

Food waste

It’s easy to get carried away at Christmas, treating ourselves with extra tasty goods or overbuying for fear of running out of food. But, the easiest way to reduce waste is to prevent it – only buy what you need. Source food locally if you can, too. Support your local farmer’s market, and buy fresh produce that’s in season.

Even with your best efforts, you may still have leftovers. Visit for ideas on how to use them to make something tasty, with recipes including sauces, pickles, and soups – many of which you can freeze and use at a later date.


Wrapping paper

Choosing paper without glitter is a good start, but there are even better, and more easily recyclable options, such as biodegradable paper. Most brown paper is recyclable and compostable, and looks beautiful when tied with string or ribbon. You could get creative by using newspapers, or even your copy of Happiful magazine – once you’ve finished reading, of course!

Think about what you can reuse, too. Save any tissue paper or gift bags you receive throughout the year, and repurpose them where you can – gorgeous packaging is too nice to use just once.

Christmas cards

From sending eCards to reducing the number of physical cards you send, there are plenty of easy swaps you can make. If you can’t face the thought of a Christmas without posting cards at all, consider a more ethical or sustainable route. Mental health charities such as Mind and SANE have many card designs to choose from on their websites, or you could support a small business that’s local to you.

And, if you receive cards, don’t throw them away. You can cut them up and turn them into gift tags for next Christmas!

Unwanted gifts

Any presents that aren’t quite right, don’t chuck them out. There are charities who will pass gifts on to people in need. Head to to find a local centre who can donate your unwanted goods to vulnerable people across the country. Alternatively, you can head to to contact local branches.

Although it can feel controversial, there’s also the option of regifting. If you know someone who’d love the present, offer it to them. It’s better for it be loved and put to good use than to end up in landfill.


Table decor

No one enjoys doing the dishes, do they? But it’s better to wash up than use disposable plastic plates, cups and cutlery. Encourage everyone around your table to take a turn at helping out.

Or, another option is to source compostable or biodegradable materials. Look out for plates made from recycled waste sugarcane fibres, which are also more rigid than conventional paper plates.

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