Have yourself a very eco Christmas

18 December 2016

One week countdown to Christmas- time to get those last minute bits sorted, panic wrapping and decorating galore!
Christmas is a time for giving and receiving, but we often think more about ourselves and loved ones than we do about the environment and earth. This year I decided to focus a little bit more on making this festive season a little more eco and green friendly!

 Wrapping Paper: 
Firstly the majority of wrapping paper is not made from recycled resources. Secondly the majority of wrapping paper is also non-recyclable!
Most conscious people make an effort not to chuck out the paper, but instead recycle it (also shout out to all the grannies who simply un-crunkle and re-use sheets of it!) but sadly due to many wrapping papers being laminated, glossed, painted and blended with plastic and metals, glitters and dyes. Plus add in sticky tape that gets left on there, and very thin cheap paper that has little to no fibrous use, they actually cannot be recycled and end up in landfill. Not great.

Is there a better alternative? There sure is. Choose paper that is first made from recycled paper or other material such as cloth pulp etc and make sure it is also 100% recyclable. This paper doesn't have to be boring and plain. It can be beautiful just as much as other papers. I headed onto notonthehighstreet.com and found a whole plethora of beautiful, funny and unique prints and designs. I chose this beautiful white snowflake print paper from the seller Sophia Victoria Joy who creates recycled Christmas gift wrap using recycled brown or white paper and screen prints her designs using water-based inks. This paper is very high quality, thick and heavyweight and the design is printed perfectly. There's also loads of other designs and prints on Sophia's section of NOTHS.

I love the idea of using NOTHS because it's important to support small businesses and personal creativity. The website also has an option to filter searches by 'eco-friendly' status making it much easier to find the more green alternatives.

 Gift Tags: 
It's not just wrapping paper either the very same thing applies to gift tags. My tags again were from Sophia Victoria Joy on NOTHS and arrived beautifully printed, and extremely high quality. I chose this star print to have something slightly different but still within my colour scheme for gift wrapping.

 Wrapping Extras: 
We all love chucking glitter, bows and those metallic looking star-bow sticky things on our packages to give them extra festive cheer but again more often than not they simply can't be recycled. Plus add in the yards of sellotape (although I have read that their manufacturing processes are actually quite eco friendly!) that must be used every year- all going into landfill.

With these again there are several options to make them better for the environment:
- NOTHS seller Lollipop Designs offer a range of Eco parcel tapes made out of recycled paper, including with pretty print designs. Check it out HERE.
The Green Stationary Shop also offer eco friendly paper tape alternatives.

- Avoid the plastic ribbon and opt for twine (check that it's paper  or cotton twine as sometimes it can be made from plastic) like this candy striped one.
- Choose hessian/ burlap to make bows and ties. You can find it just about anywhere. I got some potato sacks in the garden centre and cut it into strips.
- I found some very pretty compostable ribbon on Little Cherry who make all kinds of eco party essentials like bags, wrap, napkins etc.

Choose little wooden charms that haven't been treated or painted with anything. Your giftee can keep them for something else or if they do end up in the bin they will be completely bio-degradable.

Gift Boxes:
It sounds obvious but try to reuse your old beauty boxes - decorate with offcuts of your eco wrapping paper or with anything you want! Or who about using a hessian/ burlap sack instead of a box- looks festive and is biodegradable.

Packing Filler:
Again it may be obvious but re-use all your old fillers from previous parcels. I have a bag where I pop all my filler to save it for when I need to pad out a box of goodies.

How about avoiding the plastic decorations and choosing wooden ones instead- if any break they will be much easier to recycle or less harmful in landfill.
You can also make your own paper decorations or buy paper decorations and bunting from Little Cherry.
Real greenery is also a lovely alternative to fake wreaths and garlands - I live in London and I can still find plenty of places to snip a few bits of holly here and there - just as long as it's not from someone's garden. Pinecones make lovely decorations and are dotted about all over the place. Give them a rinse, pop in a warm dry place and they'll poof open. Dot them about the place, wire them into wreaths and garlands or make a line of bunting. They look great.

 Christmas Trees: 
It's a tough one knowing which is better for the environment, a real or a fake tree and it's one I still haven't made my mind up about. 
I've not as yet come across any eco artificial tree options but here are a few ideas for a more earth friendly real tree.
- British Christmas Tree Growers Association: if you're based in the UK, find a retailer that is approved by the BCTGA so ensure your tree is UK grown in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
- Rent a Tree: Yep, rent your Christmas tree. Many places such as Forever Green Christmas these days offer tree rental, you buy it and they pick it up in January and keep on caring for it for someone else the next year. 
- Buy a potted tree: Choose a potted tree so you can keep on growing it throughout the year and have it bigger and better for next year! Christmas Forest offer great potted tree options and are even part  of Tree Aid which plants a tree in Africa for every tree that is bought from them. Read more about it here.

And of course, if you are disposing of your tree after make sure you recycle it. Your local council will have a system in place for this or there are other alternatives such as

Batteries: If you're anything like me you'll love nothing more than a bunch of glittering lights festooned on every available surface. If these are battery operated try to opt for rechargeable ones as you will get more use out of them. Shockingly a lot of people still throw batteries in the bin which, while not technically illegal, is NOT the right way to be going about it. Use rechargeable ones or recycle your old ones - any large shop selling batteries has to be law provide a recycling box for them.
Timers: For any other lights buy a timer and plug that in to make sure your lights aren't burning bright all night and through your day. Timers are easy to get hold of, inexpensive and save you money and reduce fire risk!

There's probably a gazillion of other ideas for a more eco Christmas that I could talk about but this has turned into an epic post so perhaps next year there will be a part 2!


  1. Brilliant list Mavs - I never knew places that sell batteries have to offer recycling for them! I've managed to move on to rechargeable electronics now (including my shaver) and it's saving me money and peace of mind too.

    Besma | Curiously Conscious

    1. Thanks so much Besma! Yes I've been trying to do the same as well! xx


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