Category Archives: Sustainable Holidays

Tips and tricks to introduce sustainability to your Christmas

Christmas is a time when a large amount of consumption, and often over-consumption, takes place. 

This post is an introduction to some ideas and tips that could help to reduce the negative impacts that holidays, such as Christmas, can create on the environment. 

We would like to think that these ideas are creative and fun, that you can involve friends and family, and if you are a parent, why not turn these into activities that you can do with your kids together? 

Gift ideas: 

Are you struggling to choose gifts for people which aren’t generic gifts that you aren’t even sure they would like? Here are some alternative options that will provide memories or meaning to the people you are giving them too.  

  • Gift an experience such as:  ziplining, an art workshop, or drink tasting. 
  • Adopt an endangered animal for your friend or loved one that they can receive updates about. 
  • Shop locally with independent businesses for more original gifts such as personalised posters or bookmarks 
  • You could make your own presents by baking, sewing, painting, performing etc. 
  • Donate to a charity on their behalf, choose something they are passionate about   
Why not make a gingerbread house as a gift?

Christmas practices and traditions: 

Here are some swaps we can make on Christmas Day, and in the run up, that will help to reduce waste. 

  • If you would like an advent calendar, why not invest in a reusable calendar that you add treats to, instead of buying a plastic one from the supermarket. 
  • By skipping the Christmas crackers at lunch, or making your own, with paper (or other recyclable materials) , and with useful eco-friendly gifts inside, we can cut down on plastic that has little use.  
  • Reuse the clothes in your wardrobe:  Try to avoid buying a new outfit for Christmas if you can. Instead have fun shopping your own, your family or friends’ wardrobes (with their permission, of course).  
  • If you would like a Christmas jumper, instead of buying a brand new one, you could knit one or check out some local charity shops. 

“two out of five Christmas jumpers only being worn once over the festive period” 


Decorations and present wrapping:  

While decorations can last for many years, they can get broken, or you may be tempted to buy new ones. Here are some tips for decorations and wrapping that you can use this Christmas and in future years. 

  • Think about your Christmas tree lights: If you need to buy new ones, make sure to recycle your broken ones at a recycling facility. Also, when buying new ones, opt for LED as they use less energy.  
  • Why not send e-cards instead of paper cards. They can be personalised with family pictures for an extra special touch.  
  • Keep a bag of ribbons, gift bags and labels from other occasions that could be re-used for the next Christmas or birthdays in the future. 
  • Don’t throw away a plastic tree that you already own. They can be re-used for many years, and this will help to reduce plastic waste and save you some money. 
  • Use natural decorations such as pressed dried flowers and brown paper, instead of wrapping paper that cannot be recycled, to give presents a festive touch. 
  • We can also use fabric for wrapping by tying knots in fabrics such as vintage scarfs, which are re-used.  

Food practices and food waste:  

Food is a large contributor to waste, which is heightened around Christmas, however by adjusting our buying practices we can cut down on some of it. It is also worth noting that by adjusting what we consume we can reduce our carbon footprint. 

  • We can incorporate more plant-based and vegetarian meals into our holiday schedules. 
  • When buying ingredients for your Christmas meals, why not try shopping at markets for loose vegetables, nuts and dried fruits using a reusable bag, instead of pre-packaged vegetables from a supermarket? 
  • Try not to over buy, think about what you are able to consume based on who will be attending your meals and plan around this to reduce food waste. 
  • If you grow your own vegetables, use as many of these as possible for you Christmas meals instead of buying produce that may have been imported. 
  • Utilise your freezer: Freeze food that was leftover or due to go off, it makes great January lunches at work. 

Recipes that use leftover Christmas food to reduce food waste: 

Here are some recipes we found online that focus on reusing various ingredients that you may have left over from a Christmas meal, but can reuse in the days after Christmas.  

Thank you very much for reading our blog this year, we hope you have a wonderful festive break and we look forward to writing more posts for you in the new year! 

Best wishes, 

The Sustainability Team 

5 Tips to have a Green Halloween

This spooky season, the scariest thing might not be a ghost or a ghoul! Every year, millions of Halloween costumes and party décor are bought only to be disposed of straight after the holiday. In fact, a 2019 report by the Fairyland Trust, found that 7 million costumes Halloween costumes are thrown away every year. That’s the equivalent of 83 million plastic bottles! To help combat this trend, we have put together some simple tips to have a more eco-friendly Halloween.

  1. Re-use, Repair and Recycle your Costume

Not sure what to wear this Halloween? Why not upcycle some of your old clothes! This are plenty of costumes you could create with very little effort and cost too.

If you can’t find any inspiration in your own wardrobe, why not organise a Halloween clothes swap? You can trade old outfits with members of your local community. This is a great way to not only get a ‘new outfit’ but meet new people.

Skip the queues! 30min+ waiting times reported at this Newcastle costume shop last year!

2. Get crafty with your Halloween Decorations

There are plenty of low-waste ways to decorate for Halloween. As well as reusing your spooky décor from last year, there are plenty of green craft ideas you can try! Decorate some old glass jars with some ghostly designs or use old cardboard to make tombstones.

If you want to buy some new decorations, check out your local second-hand shop. You can find some great treasures there which you can use year after year.

If you plan to use candles for decorating, make sure they are eco-friendly. The majority of candles are made from paraffin, a product made from unsustainable fossil fuels. Try using candles made from soy, coconut, rapeseed or beeswax instead.

3.  Use your pumpkins wisely

Pumpkins are an essential part of every Halloween- we buy 39.9 million every year! Nevertheless, a large proportion of these pumpkins are wasted and go uneaten. Make the most of your pumpkin by using the insides to make a delicious recipe. Our team particularly love these recipes for pumpkin dopiaza, banana bread and pumpkin cake.  

If your pumpkin is no longer usable after Halloween, make sure to put it in your compost bin.  Pumpkins left outside could be consumed by hedgehogs, making them ill thus, hindering their preparation for hibernation.

4.  Ditch the disposables for your party

If you plan on having a Halloween party this year, try to avoid using disposable plates and cups. These are often made of plastic which cannot be recycled and ends up in landfill. If you don’t own enough supplies, try borrowing from a friend or visiting your local second-hand shop.  

You can also set out clear recycling bins for glass and food waste. Not only will stop unnecessary waste going to landfill but will also help with your clean up afterwards!

5. Make your own Halloween Treats

If you plan to host a Halloween party, why not make your own treats? There are plenty of brilliant recipes for homemade Halloween snacks to choose from. From ghost cookies to pumpkin hummus you will be spoilt for choice!

If you do don’t want to hand out homemade treats to trick or treaters, buy packaged products from ethical brands. Look out for Fairtrade products or other independent certifications on packaging and check that the packaging is easily recyclable. If you have snacks left over that you won’t eat, share them on a food waste app such as Olio. This means another person can benefit from your amazing Halloween treats!

Have we missed one of your favourite Green Halloween tips? Let us know in the comments below!