Tips for an eco-friendly Christmas

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Posted by: JasmineThompson
Posted on: 10/12/2021

Following on from COP26, we are all becoming more aware of the impact we are having on the planet, and this doesn’t stop at Christmas. In fact Christmas is all the more reason to make some small changes at home to reduce our impact on the planet over the festive period.

East Midlands Chamber’s Sustainable East Midlands policy officer Amy Kopyrko offers her top tips on achieving an eco-friendly Christmas.

      1. Wrapping tips

It is estimated that over the Christmas period we bin the equivalent of 108 million rolls of wrapping paper in the UK, most of which is difficult to recycle as it is often dyed, laminated, contains glitter or plastic, is too thin to recycle or has sticky tape attached to it.

This Christmas why not try a more sustainable way of wrapping your gifts?

  • You could reuse gift bags, saving on cost and waste!
  • Try a beautiful rustic look with brown paper, string, and biodegradable paper tape. If you are feeling crafty you could even repurpose old cards to make gift tags.
  • Give furoshiki a go, the traditional Japanese way of wrapping presents uses colourful linen in an elegant and decretive design.
  • And if shop bought wrapping paper is your thing, stay clear of shiny or glittery paper and look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Logo.

What to do with wrapping paper?

Check out Recycle Now for tips about recycling wrapping paper after the big day

      2. Oh, Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree…

The real vs artificial tree conservation happens every year. Real potted Christmas trees look beautiful, and with the roots still intact you don’t have to deal with pesty dropped needles. Just pop the potted tree outside in January and it will live all year round until its time to be brought in doors again next year. Again, this saves on cost and waste!

If you love a real tree but haven’t opted for a potted tree this year, make sure you check what your local authority is offering regarding waste collection. Most local recycling centres take trees for chipping or composting.

3. Cut your food waste

Christmas is the time for a big feast, but did you know that on average in the UK, 17 million brussels sprouts, 74 million mince pies and two million kilos of cheese are binned over Christmas?

If you end up over catering, make sure not to bin leftovers. Try transforming leftovers into new meals. Check out BBC Good Food leftover recipes for inspiration!

You could also think about donating to neighbours, friends, relatives, a local charity or soup kitchen.

Food waste apps such as OLIO provide platforms for neighbours to share unwanted food, and other items for free. This can also be used if your office has over catered for an event or Christmas buffet.

4. Crackers!

Like wrapping paper Christmas crackers are a nightmare for recycling centres. Often glittery and laminated, these are difficult to recycle. These can often also be a source of unnecessary plastic waste due to the items placed inside. Some retailers such as John Lewis & Partners have pledged to stop selling crackers containing plastic toys. Here are some other points to look out for when buying Christmas crackers this year:

  • Does it contain built-to-last toys?
  • Is the packaging recyclable?
  • Does the packaging show the FSC logo?

There are also ways to create reusable or DIY crackers, for example investing in felt Christmas party hats and filling your crackers with personalised treats.

Browse eco-friendly crackers here.

5. Shop sustainably

This Christmas think local, independent and opt for sustainable brands when choosing gifts. The East Midlands region has some fantastic ethical and sustainable options for Christmas shopping.

Here are just a few local businesses:

  • TTK Confectionery offers delicious vegan sweets packaged in glass bottles, perfect for reuse or recycling. One tree is also planted for every purchase made online or in store
  • Lanka Kade is a family-run business specialising in fair trade wooden toys, handcrafted in Sri Lanka. These toys are perfect for little ones in the family, and with plenty or figures to choose from, there is something for everyone
  • Sarah Perkins Art based in Derby offers beautiful artwork greetings cards, made from FSC certified paper.


Generation Next brings together leaders from across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire to talk about the topics in business you need to know about. Its membership package also gives young workers access to its events programme – which connects delegates with likeminded individuals, as well as leading business professionals from across the East Midlands, to build their networks and skills. For more information on how to become a Generation Next member, click here.

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