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Have yourself a Merry eco Christmas

…‘Let your heart be light. From now on your [and the planet’s] troubles will be out of sight’.

As a nation, we produce more waste over the two-week Christmas period than at any other time of the year.

Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) reports that 300,000 tonnes of card is used in UK households during the festive season. If all that card was laid side by side it would cover the return distance between London and Lapland, a hundred times over. We also use 226,000 miles of wrapping paper, enough to wrap around the world nine times!

With the festive season in full swing, we wanted to share some seasonal tips for an eco-friendlier Christmas.

Wrapping paper

Try using brown paper, newspaper or create your own wrapping paper using stamps or hand-drawn designs on craft paper or left-over wallpaper.

If you’re using wrapping paper, look for something recyclable and try to avoid designs that use foil or glitter as these can’t be recycled.

Or you could opt for a gift bag or box that can be reused multiple times – you might even want to reuse one someone gave you – there’s no shame in that.


If you haven’t already got your Christmas lights, or if you’ve discovered some of yours are broken and need replacing, why not try LED lights that are a more sustainable option as they use 80% less energy in comparison to incandescent bulbs.

If you’re looking to make your own decorations or gifts, Make It Happen are running some free workshops where you can make festive decorations and gifts from donated textiles, including:

  • Christmas Stockings on 14 December
  • Last minute Christmas gifts on 20 December

All workshops will take place between 10am and 4pm at Place of Contribution, 34 Argyle Street, Birkenhead, CH41 6AE.

Shop local

Shopping locally supports small businesses in your area and means you are getting local and fresh produce helping to reduce pollution.

Why not visit Birkenhead Market for everything you need this Christmas.

Buy loose items and avoiding fruits, vegetables and other food wrapped in plastic packaging as much as possible – just remember to take your own re-usable bags with you.

Remember to recycle

Don’t forget cardboard can be recycled as long as any plastics, tape or polystyrene have been removed! Be sure to flatten any boxes to save space for all other items that may need to go in your recycling bin.

Plastic free wrapping paper can be recycled in the grey bin but not all wrapping paper is recyclable. Do the scrunch test– if it bounces back, it can’t be recycled. Wrapping paper often contains plastic film or glitter which means it is rejected by recycling plants.

For more information on what can be recycled visit the Recycle Now website.

Food and leftovers

From how much you buy and where you buy it from, to what you do with your leftovers, there are ways to make your Christmas food shop more environmentally friendly.

Make the most of leftovers – after the big day make sandwiches, pies, soups and curries. Not only will the food be getting used instead of going to waste but you can try different recipes too and might find a new family favourite.

Love Food Hate Waste have taken the hassle out of the festive season with downloadable shopping lists and meal plans designed to help you deliver a three-course Christmas feast as well as including top tips on how to prevent waste, what to do with any extra ingredients and leftover ideas. They also have some top tips for the big day as well as some freezer tips so that you can make the most out of your food.