How to have an eco-friendly Christmas?

Top 8 tips for reducing plastic use on 2020 Christmas

The Christmas countdown is on and we should all take this opportunity to tackle the mountain of single use plastic during this festive season. Christmas is a time for giving, but single-use plastics can also make it a time for waste.
From plastic free gifts and decorations, to events and celebration food, there is something everyone can do to reduce plastic impact. Read more on How to have an eco friendly Christmas below.

Let’s slimline Christmas into something more ethical and eco-friendlier and revert it into something that is more focused on the experience and spending time with family and friends than simply spending. However, here are our top eight tips to help you cut down on plastic this Christmas.

Did you know?

  • Each year, in UK, we create 30% more waste than usual during the winter festive period; 
  • Also, each year, we are using 6 millions Christmas trees.  According to a survey from 2017, 14% of people said that they would be binning their artificial Christmas tree, rather than reusing it the following year.
  • Worldwide, by the time we are putting our Christmas decorations away, a whopping 227,000 miles of wrapping paper ended up into our landfills along with 1 billion Christmas cards. 

Top 8 tips for reducing plastic waste

1. Christmas wrapping paper – You might not realise it, but lots of Christmas wrapping paper has a laminated plastic coating and is unable to be recycled – and then there’s the miles of sticky tape, too. Reduce plastic and save money by using plain brown parcel paper tied with cotton ribbon or string.


Your presents will look great if wrapped in newspapers or magazines. Fabric can be also tied around a present and it looks so beautiful with a bit of imagination. Don’t forget to use cinnamon sticks, dried oranges and colourful twine for giving your gifts a more “Christmassy look”.

2. Use a “greener” Christmas tree – The tree is often the centrepiece of Christmas festivities and it is possible to have a plastic free, sustainable and eco-friendly Christmas tree. Many of us choose a real Christmas tree over a plastic one, and rightly so.

Even though plastic trees are (hopefully) reused many times, a new, real tree each year is still the greener option. Buying a real tree still needs careful consideration. Try to source a tree from a local farm to reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

Renting a Christmas tree is a good, simple idea. Also, is an eco-friendly alternative into sourcing your Christmas tree. You can leave all the tree-tending to the experts and still enjoy a real and sustainable Christmas tree.

Companies such as, Forever Green Christmas Trees can provide this type of service. Their team will arrange delivery of a living, potted tree in early December. Then you can then dress it how you like it before they collect it again in early January. Each tree is then replanted, ready for next year. Is probably themost thoughtful choice out there.

Choosing a wooden Christmas tree sounds like a wise idea too, because the wooden tree can be used for as many times you wish. You can even hand craft it by yourself. We can definitely say this is a nice family activity for you to take upon. 

Building your own wooden Christmas tree is a rewarding process especially when your little ones are involved. Is the perfect gift for your family – quality time with the loved ones.

how to have an eco-friendly Christmas showing Christmas wooden tree

3. Christmas decorations – Resist the temptation to deck the halls with flimsy tinsel or baubles. Why not bake some Christmas cookies to hang from the tree, or use strings of popcorn and cranberries  as tinsel?
If you already have plastic tree decorations, then keep and use them – the key here is not to buy any new ones.

how to have an eco-friendly Christmas showing Christmas cooking ideas

If you need new decorations, the following ideas are all beautiful alternatives to plastic:

  •  Antique glass baubles
  • Rustic metal stars
  • Enamelled-tin decorations
  • Felt decorations
  • Carved wooden decorations
  • Strings of wooden beads
  • Carved or stamped clay decorations

Making paper decorations and paper chains is a fun, affordable and inherently eco-friendly way to avoid buying plastic decorations. If you fancy giving it a go, there are plenty of online tutorials available and all you need are tissue paper, a glue stick, a pair of scissors and a little patience.

how to have an eco-friendly Christmas showing Christmas wooden decorations

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4. Send a Christmas e-card – Christmas cards may be plastic-free but they do consume a lot of the planet’s resources in the making process.

We suggest to send fun e-cards to your wider friends and keep the physical cards for your nearest & dearest. There are plenty of websites where you can find the favourite e-card in 2020 Christmas.

how to have an eco-friendly Christmas showing handwriting Christmas card

5. Christmas food and drinks – Packaging is one of the biggest problems when it comes to food waste, so try to buy loose fruit and vegetables where possible. We would recommend having some reusable bags with you at all time to avoid single-use plastic bags. Will make a big difference for our environment.

Only attempt a big food shop if you’ve prepared a shopping list to avoid buying food you won’t use. Remember to check your cupboards first before you go shopping, as you may already have a lot of the ingredients you need.

Food waste is also a big issue – one you can reduce by only making what’s needed and freezing the rest for a quick mid-week meal. Take an extra 10 mins at the end of the Christmas dinner and see what you can freeze. Obviously take into account what you’ll need for boxing day meal.

Boxing day cocktails

6. Eco-friendly Christmas crackers – Many Christmas crackers have a throwaway plastic toy inside that gets discarded as soon as the meal is over. Make yours more sustainable by creating your own if possible. 

For our 2020 Christmas, we’ve already gathered a lot of papers and more colourful cardboards (from our deliveries or from our shopping) and we are going to have a nice “creative” afternoon by middle of December. Will be a perfect creative activity for our little ones. If you like, follow us on Instagram or Facebook, to see it once we’ve handcrafted them.

how to have an eco-friendly Christmas showing Christmas crackers from recyclable paper

Replacing single-use crackers with reusable ones with help us cut the festive time waste. (Tip: Read our Did you Know section for amazing stats). Some are made from natural linen and some allow you to add your own personalised gifts. Alternatively, replace them entirely with a small table top gift, such as a little tree decoration or a tiny potted plant for your guests to take home.

how to have an eco-friendly Christmas showing mini gift instead of Christmas crackers

7. Ethical gifts – Many children’s toys are made of plastic. Try opting for more traditional ones made of wood, and make sure to pass these to other families or donate to charity shops when your little ones have grown out of them. 

When shopping for bigger kids and adults you can cut resource use by giving experience-based gifts rather than material ones – perhaps a meal at their favourite restaurant, or tickets to the theatre.

8. Have a Boxing Day beach clean or walk – Probably is not for everyone, but why not having a day out with the loved ones instead of a day in(side) the shops on Boxing Day?

A walk on a beach or a “leftover” picnic with your little ones at your favourite outdoor spot can be a nice alternative. Will be beneficial for your wellbeing, but for the environment also. 

Who needs pre-packed sandwiches for your family walk when you have leftover nut-loaf or turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce? Washed down with a hot chocolate, tea or mulled wine? Of course is no need for any single-use plastic when you can use your favourite reusable cup and reusable wrapping paper.

Also, after your walk or picnic, use the time in nature to teach your little ones the responsibility of disposing correctly our waste and the consequences of not doing it. Unfortunately, are chances that you’ll find plastic packaging lying around.

Even, take it a step further, join a beach cleaning action and help us (and yourself) to reduce plastic waste in your local area.

Join #iorgreener Movement
this World Environment Day

Be the change. Everyday, we can influence small aspects of our lifes for a more sustainable and plastic free future. Saving the planet doesn’t have to be hard.

Whether it’s about sustainability, ethical fashion, eco-friendly products or reusable alternatives to single use plastics, IORGREEN is the place to start. Get 10% off your next order using #iorgreener on social media.*

Did you learn How to Have an Eco Friendly Christmas this year?

Like everyone becoming more thoughtful and adopting a more zero waste and plastic-free attitude. A zero waste Christmas is not about being perfect, but is about doing what you can to reduce your impact. Just start being more conscious of your choices over the Christmas season and spend your Christmas doing what you love with the people that you love.

Involving kids in a plastic-free Christmas is a great way to entertain them and spread the load. Let them help you with making things and decorating the house.

Do you have more plastic-free Christmas tips? Also, if you found our “How to have an eco friendly Christmas?” article useful, please share it with your friends and family and who knows, a small change can happen. Thank you and hope to see you soon. 

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