Have Yourself A Merry Eco Christmas: Sustainable Holiday Tips

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas And tat means a time of year full of waste.  Today we're keeping festive while also bein sustainable, so keep posted for five fab tips for celebrating the holidays in eco friendly style.

eco friendly Christmas products

Sustainable Christmas Tip 1: Choose upcycled or reusable wrapping paper

Did you know that every holiday season over 227,000 miles of disposable wrapping paper just in the UK alone?  This is a product whose main purpose is to be torn away and tossed – it is so unsustainable, and pretty absurd when you start to think about it!  Plus, the majority these days isn’t actually recyclable either due to glitter and special coatings used to make the product shiny.  So why not ditch the single use options this Christmas and opt for an eco friendly alternative that is upcycled, multi-purpose, or reusable instead?  


There are a ton of options out there, ranging from handmade DIY fabrics that can be repurposed year after year to old magazines and newspapers that are given new life.  Each has its own benefits, and all are certainly better than buying a plastic wrapped roll that will then end up in the bin a few days later.  


Along with my usual reusables, one brand that I will be trying this year is something different entirely.  Read Wrap Recycle was inspired to produce recyclable wrapping paper that starts as a positive news magazine.  This family run business used to wrap presents in old newspapers, but they were tired of this sustainable option featuring negative stories.  Who wants a festive gift that has headlines about Covid and Brexit slapped on the front??  So they took initiative and created a UK based alternative that wouldn’t be depressing.  Read the stories, wrap your gifts, and then recycle!  There are several options to choose from, including a holiday themed paper, and it’s great for adults and kids alike. 


Read Wrap Recycle eco friendly wrapping paper kit

Sustainable Christmas Tip 2: Pick reusable Christmas crackers

Another big source of waste during December is Christmas crackers.  Work parties, family dinners, and friendly gatherings tend to make use of this traditional activity, but sadly the single use packaging and the twee little toy found inside are often thrown away soon after the festivities have finished.  It’s estimated that over 154 million crackers are pulled during the month – just imagine how much trash that is!  Plastic tat, slips of paper with overused jokes, low quality trinkets…  All destined for landfill.  


That is, unless you switch to a reusable option that can be filled with eco friendly treats instead! And that’s where Keep This Cracker comes into play…  These sustainable holiday swaps are plastic free, made in the UK, and pet friendly – plus, they last for years rather than just a moment!  Made with FSC certified card, water based glue, and vegetable inks, the packaging is just as ethically minded as the idea behind the brand.  And Keep This Cracker suggests you can add all sorts of green goodies into their reusable product, saying it’s the perfect size for “chocolates, jewellery, small gadgets, socks, soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, gift cards, theatre tickets” and even an engagement ring!  How’s that for the season of giving? 


Keep This Cracker reusable Christmas crackers


Sustainable Christmas Tip 3: Avoid food waste 

We all know the holidays are packed full of delicious food, but unfortunately with all that yummy snacking comes a whole lot of excess.  Supermarkets are a huge part of this problem, stocking far too much and filling shelves with reduced clearance stickers and bins with expired products.  But sadly it’s not just the shops that are to blame.  It is estimated that the UK purchases around two million turkeys, five million Christmas puddings, and over 74 million mince pies during December.  We tend to buy and cook far too much, and when those leftovers can’t be eaten in time it sadly ends up being tossed.  But there is another way! 

Sometimes it is just a matter of storing the extra goods properly.  And with zero waste and sustainable options available for food storage, there shouldn’t be any excuse anymore.  WaxWrap is just one of the eco friendly swaps available.  These natural sheets create a “malleable, durable, breathable, self-adhesive and reusable covering” that help protect food for longer.  Just warm up the edges of this  Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 approved material and shape it around the container or item.  We use plastic free wraps like this all the time, and they’re especially handy for oddly shaped tins and trays. 

WaxWrap reusable food storage wraps


Sustainable Christmas Tip 4: Drink responsibly 

Along with food, people also tend to overindulge with drinks over the Christmas period.  Alcoholic beverage or otherwise, all those salty and fatty meals and friendly gatherings can make you real thirsty – but is there a way to make this activity more ethical? 

In short, yes!  First, you can choose low waste alternatives that are recyclable, compostable, or reusable.  There are a lot of refill wine and beer options popping up around the UK, so check your local area to see what is available near you.  Or, if this is not accessible, consider checking out compostable swaps like 3Q, the world's first paper bottle of wine. 

Another simple way to reduce waste and have a more responsible drinks sesh is to decrease the damage to your body.  Hangovers often involve popping a few paracetamol or nausea medication, both of which come in plastic packaging.  So why not skip that entirely?  The innovative Inside Out was designed for this very reason.  Loaded with antioxidants that work to support a healthy liver, this 'pre-tox' beverage utilizes cranberry and other natural sources to dramatically reduce hangovers.  But it's not just for a holiday binge - the nutrients and vitamins make it a great wellbeing boost for those staying sober too.

Inside Out Pre Tox Drinks surrounded by shimmering tinsel


Sustainable Christmas Tip 5: Skip the holiday cards

The festive season is not all holly jolly, especially when it comes to the amount of products that are sent to landfill when all the winter magic has worn off.  Sadly, around one billion Christmas cards are disposed of each year.  And like wrapping paper, a lot of these products aren't even recyclable due to non biodegradable glitter and coatings.  Even digital greetings come with a carbon footprint.  So it's time to ask ourselves -- is it really worth the week of sitting on a shelf or the minute of entertainment before it gets deleted?For many the answer is simple: no.  We can give our well wishes in person or over the phone, making it more meaningful in the process.  But for some people, the expectation of post is a source of joy.  In this case, consider swapping to a more sustainable alternative instead.  There are tons of plantable papers, recycled cardstock, and plastic free options out there, so it is just a matter of finding one you are happy with.  I personally love handmade seed paper greetings which are compostable and help create wildflower meadows when the festive season is over and the card is no longer on display.

paper Christmas tree

Of course there are loads more ways we can be more sustainable this holiday, and Christmas is filled with opportunities to be eco friendly and ethically minded.  You can find even more inspiration in last year's guide, but I would love to hear a few of your ideas -- what will you be doing this year to reduce your impact or minimize waste?  

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