PECT Logo Teal Outline
Skip to Content
Donate now

From the blog

Cutting Christmas waste

by Alexandra Szczurek

It is the most wonderful time of the year but are you creating a sledge-load of waste? Check out the tips below to help you have a very merry, Christmas waste-free Festive Season!

Christmas Trees are the centre of festivity in any home, but did you know that 250 tonnes of Christmas Trees are thrown away after Christmas? Keep it sustainable:

  • Use real tree rental services (you can rent a tree for the festive period and return after)
  • Plant your real tree in your garden post-Christmas
  • Decorate an existing plant in your home
  • If you have an artificial tree, make sure to reuse it year on year
  • If you must dispose of your real Christmas tree, local councils often have Christmas Tree recycling services so that they can be correctly composted

Eco-friendly Decorations can feel festive, traditional and are a great activity to entertain your whole family!

  • Buy second-hand or make your own – there are a whole host of websites that teach you how to use oranges, cloves, cinnamon sticks, twigs, pinecones, and ivy and much more to create decorations. Plus, you can take a look at PECT’s Nature’s School activities for downloadable resource sheets
  • If you have an evergreen tree in your garden (maybe from last year’s Christmas), you could even make your own wreaths with a metal frame, wire, and a steady hand
  • Make sure that, if you really do need to dispose of decorations, you advertise them on second-hand websites or online marketplaces. Check out the RecycleNow website to find out more information on what you can and cannot kerbside recycle!

Gifting should be kept local, useful, and sustainable! Help local brands in your area or use sites like Etsy that support independent retailers. Make sure that the item you are gifting will be loved and try and avoid single-use plastic.

  • You could gift an experience to create memories or offer an online subscription instead. If you are particularly crafty, you could even make your own gifts
  • Donate to charity in your loved one’s name, perhaps even plant a tree in their honour?
  • There is an amazing array of second-hand retailers online now, including Thrift+, Depop and Vinted or you could check out Facebook Marketplace or eBay for unused items in their original packaging!
  • If you want to shop new, there are so many sustainable, ethical brands out there now that offer lifetime guarantees, try to prioritise local, independent retailers (who need the support now more than ever after Covid-19) or some other ideas include Patagonia, Rapanui, Finisterre, and People Tree.

  • For packaging:
    • Take it traditional – use brown paper/ newspaper and decorate with string
    • Make sure any packaging you buy is recyclable/recycled
    • Use reusable wrapping, inspired by Japanese Furoshiki, such as these from LUSH

Christmas Food – probably the most anticipated event… but if all the wasted food at Christmas was recycled into energy, we could power the average medium-sized home for 57 years! (ReFood).

  • Maybe this year you can make some plant-based swaps
  • Make your own mince pies, Christmas pudding/ cake and other treats
  • Buy loose (no excess plastic packaging) from local farms and retailers to support your community
  • Utilise the Cool Food website for great tips and recipes to reduce your food’s carbon footprint
  • Use a portion planner like the one here: and please remember to use your leftovers – maybe a boxing day turkey curry or stuffing sandwiches?

A few more ideas:

  • Do not buy a new outfit for Christmas Day – swap with friends or wear something you already own!
  • Make your own Christmas Crackers & Advent Calendars with personalised, sustainable gifts
  • Use solar/ LED lights and make sure they are turned off when you are asleep or out
  • Send e-cards, or make sure you used recycled and recyclable cards from local retailers – you could use the cards you receive as tags for next year!