Tips for a sustainable Christmas

sustainable christmas tips

Wokingham Borough Council has lots of tips for a sustainable Christmas…

Sustainable present ideas  

  • When it comes to presents, think quality not quantity. Purchase gifts that will last a long time and not end up in household waste, which ultimately gets incinerated
  • Consider gifting an experience such as an electronic gift voucher, event ticket, overnight stay or a restaurant reservation. The receiver will be able to experience the gift twice, once when they receive the gift and again when they redeem it
  • Look at the materials potential gifts are made from and avoid single use plastic items. Keep sustainability in mind by opting for recycled items or organic-certified food and clothing.

Wrapping and packaging

  • Reduce waste by buying gifts with little or no packaging
  • If you must use packaging, use recycled, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, recyclable materials, such as brown paper and paper bags, or reusable fabric wrapping paper and bags 
  • Avoid plastic wrapping paper and packaging, plastic ribbon, tape and foil-backed wrapping paper. None of these can be recycled and must be placed into the bin for incineration.

Christmas cards

  • If you like sending Christmas cards, look for cards made from recycled or FSC-certified paper
  • Save paper by sending a Christmas e-card or a festive email instead.

Christmas trees

  • Reuse artificial Christmas trees or if you are planning on purchasing a real tree, make sure it’s FSC-certified
  • Consider hiring a Christmas tree from a local company which collects the tree after use and replants the tree ready for hiring again next year
  • Think about how to use or dispose of your tree once the season is over. If it is potted, consider replanting it outside and reusing it again next year. If you use our garden waste collection service, you can cut up your real tree and place it in your brown bin or sack on your collection day. Alternatively, you can take it to your local Re3 recycling centre.

Christmas decorations

  • Light up your Christmas tree with LED lights. Not only do they use less energy and last longer, they are cooler to run and also do not contain harmful gases unlike traditional halogen or filament lighting. For your safety and to save energy, remember to switch your lights off at night or when not in use 
  • Make your own Christmas decorations by repurposing items in your home. You can make tree decorations from wood, card and recycled materials. Bunting and paperchains can be made from paper or materials found around your home
  • Avoid single-use tablecloths and napkins and use material alternatives. Not only will they last longer, but they can also be used year after year, simply put them in the washing machine and wash on a low temperature 
  • Finish your table setting off with FSC-certified Christmas crackers or better yet, make your own reusable crackers and fill them with environmentally friendly alternatives such as chocolates. These options are much better and friendlier for the planet than traditional crackers which can contain plastic items and made from non-recyclable materials.

Food and drink

  • Cut down on your meat consumption and opt for vegetarian or vegan free alternatives. There is a great selection of meat-free alternatives for the dinner table including nut roast, mushroom wellington, vegetarian pies and more. There’s a wide range of local shops in the Borough to explore meat-free alternatives 
  • If you don’t fancy cooking, why not support a local business instead? We are lucky to have a wide selection of local restaurants, pubs, cafes, pubs and shops in the Borough – there is something for everyone
  • Try not to overspend on food and drink to avoid waste. Around the festive break, there’s often a lot of food waste. To avoid this, budget and plan your meals carefully. 

Recycling tips from Re3

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