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Five ways you can help the environment this Christmas


Each one is a small change you can make which will add up to a big difference

Christmas Day is rapidly approaching.

Festive songs are playing in all the high street shops and the kids are starting to drive us crazy with their endless asking of ‘how many days left?’

But among the cheer of presents, food and decorations there can be a darker side.

All that plastic packaging and waste can have a big impact on the environment.

So for the environmentally-concious, we’ve come up with some changes you can make to your Christmas routine that will not only save you money, but will also help the environment at the same time.

1. Use recyclable wrapping paper

It may come as a surprise, but a lot of wrapping paper is not recyclable.

It is often laminated with dyes, contains gold or silver shapes, glitters or plastics which cannot be recycled.

You also cannot dispose of it correctly when there is sticky tape on it.

An alternative is to use brown parcel paper. To make it more festive, add a nice ribbon that can be taken off and re-used.

2. Say no to glitter

Glitter is another festive decoration that cannot be recycled.

It is made by using a combination of plastic and aluminium and because it is so small, it can eventually make its way back into the food chain and harm wildlife.

You can now buy biodegradable glitter, but unless you check the label, it may be best to avoid it altogether.

3. Rent your Christmas tree

The debate over whether to get a real or artificial Christmas tree has been going on for years.

Neither one is really better for the environment than the other, with real trees having to be cut down and plastic artificial ones producing a large amount of emissions in the manufacturing process.

However there is an alternative. In some areas you can rent a Christmas tree! Who’d have thought it.

You pay for the tree you want, get it delivered to you and then at the end of the festive period it is picked up and re-planted, so it continues to grow for the rest of the year.

If you found your favourite, maybe you could have the same tree every year…

4. Crackers with no toys

A mini-magnifying glass, a tiny nail clipper, a plastic hair clip, a mini set of cards…

The list of really useful (not) but fun things you get in a Christmas cracker is long.

Realistically, most of the items inside them end up in the bin, which cannot be good for the environment.

You don’t have to scrap crackers completely though, as you can purchase them without the toys inside.

The RSPB Christmas crackers are just one of the waste-free products you can buy, so no plastic ends up in the bin.

5. Re-wear Christmas jumpers

We all know when someone is truly in the festive spirit – when the Christmas jumper makes it appearance.

However, the cosy outerwear does have its downsides, with charity Hubbub’s research finding two out of five jumpers will only be worn once over the festive period.

This makes it one of the worst examples of fast fashion, especially when people buy a new one every year.

Some alternatives include wearing the same one every year (who’s actually going to remember), swapping jumpers with friends, or even making your own.


This story was originally published on

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