How to be more sustainable this Christmas

Did you know the average carbon footprint of Christmas in the UK is around 280kg per person? Most households generate more waste at Christmas, which then increases our carbon footprint. 

There are many small changes we can make to our festive routine to help protect the planet and reduce our impact on the planet. Read on to learn how you can make your Christmas a sustainable one!


One of the main culprits of waste each Christmas is gift-giving. We overload on wrapping paper, cards, gift bags and buy more presents than we need or order gifts online that are shipped from all over the world! 

Here are a few different ways you can shop smart at Christmas:

  • Buy recyclable Christmas cards and gift tags 
  • Buy wrapping paper without glitter, foil or plastic 
  • Avoid sticky tape and use ribbon or string to tie wrapping instead
  • For sweets and chocolate gifts, look out for wrapping which can be recycled
  • Buy gift experiences 
  • Donate unwanted gifts to charity shops – or re-gift them! 
  • Buy presents that include sustainable materials such as photo frames or stationary


Did you know UK households spend on average £25 on decorations each Christmas? You can save money and help the planet by reusing decorations from the year before or making your own from scratch! 

Here are a few tips and tricks to decorate your home the sustainable way! 

  • If you have a plastic tree, keep using it! You'll need to use it about 10 times to have a lower carbon footprint than a real one 
  • Buy a rooted Christmas tree that can be re-used
  • Need new lights for your Christmas tree? Switch to LED lights to save energy! 
  • For your Christmas dinner, buy or make fabric napkins instead of paper as they can be washed and re-used
  • If you're looking to buy new decorations, why not give the ones from last year a makeover! 
  • If you're undecided which type of tree to get, you can rent a Christmas tree! 

Christmas outfits and plans

You don't need to buy a whole new outfit or Christmas jumper which you will probably only use once!

Here are a few alternatives:

  • Instead of buying a new Christmas jumper, revamp an old jumper or re-use an existing Christmas jumper 
  • If you buy a new Christmas outfit and have no use for it after, give it a second life by sending it to a charity shop
  • Reduce TV time by getting the family involved in interactive games or plan fun outings 
  • If you have children, get them involved in arts and crafts by collecting twigs and leaves whilst on walks to make their own Christmas decorations

Festive food

Be savvy with your food shopping this Christmas! We're more likely to waste food at Christmas than at any other time of year so try not to overbuy food. It's also worth checking what you already have in the cupboards or freezer before writing your shopping list.

Here are a few tips to cut waste as well as your bill!

  • Preparation is key! It's easy to load up your trolley with tempting treats, so take the time to plan and check what food you already have to avoid buying more than you need
  • Clear out your freezer and use up food to make room for festive delicacies or make a few dishes in advance and freeze them to save you time e.g sausage rolls
  • If you find you've got a whole load of leftover food after Christmas, food banks will welcome seasonal goodies such as tins, packets and long-dated items

Donating and volunteering

We mustn't forget that Christmas is a time for giving and it can be a difficult time for the elderly and the homeless. 

If you have any spare time over the Christmas period, there are a few ways you can help make a difference. 

Got any clothes or children's toys no longer being used? There are many charities where these gifts can make a positive impact! 

You can also donate or volunteer to help charities such as AgeUK, Shelter or search local charities near you.

There are so many changes you can make over the festive period to contribute to a less wasteful lifestyle! 

Here at musicMagpie, we help create a circular economy by recycling, refurbishing and re-using items. Why not recycle your old Tech this Christmas with us and help reduce e-waste?