A river with snowy banks

Five ways to reduce plastic at Christmas

Avoiding plastic at Christmas can be really difficult. Ingredients for our Christmas dinner often come pacakged in multiple layers of plastic; gifts, particularly toys, are often made of and packaged in plastic; and hidden plastic is everywhere, from Christmas cards to wrapping paper.

Emily Cooper


When it escapes into the environment, plastic can spell disaster for rivers. From litter to microplastics, all types of plastic can be harmful to aquatic life. We spoke to our partners over at Preventing Plastic Pollution to get some top tips on avoiding plastic this Christmas. Check out their recommendations below.

  1. Wrap it up!

    Did you know that in the UK, we use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper each year? A huge amount of this wrapping paper ends up in the bin, and a lot will contain plastic (either in the form of glitter or laminates). The best thing to do is wrap gifts in fabric which can be reused year after year, or to leave presents unwrapped. You can always get a reusable Christmas sack if you want to maintain the element of surprise!
  2. De-plastic your decor

    Lots of our favourite Christmas decorations—tinsel, baubles and faux wreaths to name a few—contain plastic. Worse still, lots of us buy new decorations every year. Making reusable, plastic-free decorations with your family can be a great way to cut down on plastic and have fun doing it. Paper snowflake chains and wreaths made with real greenery from the garden are two great examples.
  3. Change the way you gift

    Even when we try our best to source sustainable gifts, they are often still wrapped in plastic when they arrive. Take back control of your presents this Christmas by gifting homemade goods, or opting for experiences rather than physical gifts.
  4. Unwrap your dinner

    While we can’t avoid plastic wrapping for some parts of our Christmas dinner, there are ways to cut down. Buy loose fruit and veg rather than multipacks packaged in plastic. This also helps you to avoid food waste, as you can buy exactly as much as you need. Visiting a shop with refill stations for Christmas staples like dried fruit and breadcrumbs can also be a good way to reduce plastic consumption.
  5. Rethink your Christmas cards

    Some Christmas cards are recyclable, while some aren’t due to glitter and other plastics. Even Christmas cards which can be recycled often aren’t! Our e-cards are a great solution; they’re sent virtually, and you can attach a donation to make your gesture of good-will go even further. With each of us discarding an average of 24 Christmas cards a year, going digital is a great way to cut down waste. Fortunately, our range of cards can be sent as e-cards!

Find out how we're tackling plastic

As well as supporting our local Trusts in carrying out litter picks, we're tackling plastic pollution through our projects. Preventing Plastic Pollution tackles plastic pollution from source to sea, while In-No-Plastic will develop and demonstrate clean-up technologies in aquatic ecosystems.

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