Reduce, Reuse, Recycle this Christmas

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle this Christmas

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle this Christmas

Christmas is so close, we can already smell the excitement and mince pies in the air…

However, whilst Christmas may be the #1 date on the calendar for many people who celebrate it, the event actually creates a huge amount of waste, and that’s something we are going to try and address in this article.

We are going to look at some Christmas activities that are easy to adjust in order to be less wasteful.


Wrapping paper

It’s wrongly assumed that all wrapping paper is recyclable, but the truth is that it’s often dyed, laminated, or decorated with non-recyclables, like glitter and sellotape. An estimated 227,000 miles of wrapping paper are thrown away each Christmas, enough to go around the Equator 9 times. Shocking! Instead of buying new wrapping paper, use old newspapers, magazines, and comics to decorate your gifts.

Did you know? British households on average use four rolls of wrapping paper each, totalling around 108 million rolls per year. Let’s work together to reduce this figure.

Waste-free gift giving

Instead of giving people ‘stuff’ and ‘things’, why not give them cherished memories and experiences. Take your friends and family on a day trip to the zoo, for a hot air balloon ride, afternoon tea, an escape room, or whatever they might enjoy doing. This way you get to spend time with them, do something fun, and create a memory for a lifetime. What we love about this idea is that it doesn’t create waste.

Plan your meal portions

It’s the same every Christmas, there’s way too much food, everyone is stuffed, and loads of things end up in the bin or food caddy. This year, try asking your guests in advance how much they think they will eat, and what things they don’t like. This tactic might just help you reduce your food waste by allowing you to only buy and prepare the things you need.

Avoid disposable dinnerware

Try to make steps towards avoiding disposable plates, cutlery, and napkins. If you have a lot of guests coming and you are worried you don’t have enough plates and cutlery, ask your guests to bring some! They won’t mind, and it saves the environment. If disposable really is your last resort, look around for compostable options. Find some napkins that you can wash and save for the next party, instead of throwing away paper ones.



Aside from wrapping paper, you have envelopes, cardboard boxes, and gift bags. It’s easy to reuse a lot of these items. After the fun of opening your fits, set aside your waste for reuse. If envelopes are unmarked and the adhesive is not applied, then they are perfectly reusable. Boxes that packages arrived in can be kept and used for storage and organisation – they may even come in useful for future arts and crafts projects. Gift bags should also be stored and reused to give out as gift packaging throughout the year.

Tip: When you’re sorting your reuse and recycling at Christmas, don’t put stuff in black bin bags, as once they go in these bags, they’re unlikely to come back out and be sorted.

Christmas cards

There are two great methods for recycling your Christmas cards. One is to cut them in half so that the inside of the card without writing on can now be used as a new card. Fold that card in half and use it as a Christmas card for next year. Remember to recycle the used half.

The other method is to cut up Christmas cards and turn them into gift tags to be used next year.



When Christmas comes around, battery use increases and people wear through them faster than ever. The problem is that it’s much easier to throw your batteries in the general waste, instead of storing them to be recycled. Batteries are a hazardous waste, as putting them in the general waste can be dangerous, and a fire hazard. Take your batteries to your local recycling centre or battery bank so they can be handled properly.

Christmas tree

If you’re opting for a real Christmas tree this year, try to find a supplier who sells them potted. This way the tree doesn’t have to die for your decorations, and it will continue to photosynthesise and clean the air in your home. Alternatively, if you do buy a cut tree, remember at the end that you can compost the tree, or even cut it up for firewood.


Let’s just have a quick recap of the tips in this article:

  1. Reduce wrapping paper usage
  2. Commit to gifting experiences not material items
  3. Plan your meals
  4. Avoid disposable dinnerware
  5. Reuse gift packaging
  6. Turn Christmas cards into gift tags and new cards
  7. Recycle batteries
  8. Turn your Christmas tree into firewood or compost

Have these 8 tips proved useful?

Do you think that you can make some small changes to your Christmas plans in order to reduce wastage?

Let us know, we love to hear from our readers.